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Grover Norquist: Marijuana Tax Won’t Violate Anti-Tax Pledge


grover norquist ssdp silver tour marijuana lobby dayTaxing legalized marijuana in Washington and Colorado won’t violate the anti-tax pledge that congressional Republicans signed according to Grover Norquist. The pledge states, “I will oppose and vote against any and all efforts to increase taxes.”

“That’s not a tax increase,” Norquist said according to Opposing Views. “It’s legalizing an activity and having the traditional tax applied to it.”

It’s not the first time that Grover Norquist came out in support of marijuana reform. According to National Journal:

Last month, Norquist joined Reps. Earl Blumenauer, D-Ore., and Dana Rohrabacher, R-Calif., two of Congress’s most outspoken drug-policy reformers, to push a plan that would allow marijuana-related businesses to write off their business expenses. The federal tax code considers state-approved dispensaries drug traffickers, even in the 20-plus states that have medical marijuana or full legalization. Norquist, Blumenauer, and Rohrabacher want to put an end to that.

“When you legalize something and more people do more of it, and the government gets more revenue because there’s more of it … that’s not a tax increase,” he explains. “The tax goes from 100 percent, meaning it’s illegal, to whatever the tax is.”

I know a lot of conservatives that are coming on board when it comes to marijuana reform. They were opposed to marijuana reform when it was just a social justice issue. But now that economics is involved, and enormous numbers are being thrown around, conservatives are signing up in droves. I would rather have seen conservatives get on board because ending marijuana prohibition is the right thing to do, but I guess we’ll take their support anyway we can. I just hope that if the enormous projections aren’t accurate, they stay on board.


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Johnny Green


  1. Poor Grover (and I mean Sesame Street’s Grover, who shares the same name). Still trying to defend his blood/money/tax pledge. Maybe he USED to help the Republican party, a long, long time ago, but what have ya done for them lately? (I wish I had the ability to use bold and italics. I hate shouting at people.)

  2. I’m just amazed Norquist would say such a thing. It seems like a semantic workaround. My impression was that his now nefarious tax pledge was only ever intended to reduce the amount of new revenue that local, state, and federal governments collect so that we do something about our out-of-control government spending problems.

    Norquist, himself, famously said “I don’t want to abolish government. I simply want to reduce it to the size where I can drag it into the bathroom and drown it in the bathtub.”
    No matter how you slice it, taxing cannabis is a NEW source of revenue.

    Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for taxing cannabis appropriately. But this is a dodgy strategy. Frankly, the ideologically consistent way I’d expect Norquist to support cannabis law reform is to point at the BLOATED annual budget for the Office of National Drug Control Policy, which has swollen to the size of $26 BILLION per year!!!

    Seriously, Grover, BUDDY — the Drug War isn’t something you should give an ideological pass. Honestly, I’ve been wanting to know WHY deficit and spending hawks like yourself refuse to say anything about the hundreds of billions of dollars we’ve thrown down the prohibition hole over the last four decades.

    I just don’t get it. Grover is setting up DOOM for his nefarious pledge, if all we have to do to justify new revenue is say we’re applying a traditional tax to a new object. After all, Hazardous Substances Taxes were just upheld as constitutional, so it would seem that’s a traditional tax, now. Carbon emissions are arguably hazardous, so by Grover’s reasoning, we’re simply applying a traditional tax (taxing hazardous substances) to carbon emissions.

    It’s great Grover has given his conservative buddies a pass to tax cannabis, sure, yes, great, but why wouldn’t he simply weigh into this battle from a wasted-spending point of view instead of mincing the semantic subtleties of his no-tax pledge?

  3. Are projections, for anything, ever accurate? Maybe I should just look into my crystal ball…

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