The Province reports…
As Canada’s new federal government moves toward acting on its commitment to legalize and regulate marijuana, policy makers should look south to learn the ups and downs of legal highs, said an expert behind Colorado’s trail-blazing framework for legal pot.
Andrew Livingston is a policy analyst from Vicente Sederberg LLC, a Denver-based law firm focused on the business and law of marijuana. Livingston helped craft the laws for the first U.S. state to allow regulated recreational pot sales.
Livingston, in Vancouver this week to speak at a cannabis policy forum Thursday evening at UBC Robson Square, discussed the topic at length in an interview Monday with The Province.
One key consideration is figuring out the best pricing and tax structure, Livingston said; if taxes make the price of legal pot too high, consumers might stick with the black market.
Consumers are wiling to pay a premium for legal product, but only to a certain price point, he said, adding: “Maybe’s it’s 10 per cent higher than the black market price, maybe 20 per cent, but it’s really kind of hard to know.”
Livingston, an economist by training, favours starting with a lower tax rate — thus attracting as many consumers from the black market as possible and hopefully putting criminals out of business — and then increasing taxes over time.