Newsbrief: Legal Swiss Marijuana to Be Heavily Taxed, Black Market Profits Will Instead Be Windfall for Government 4/18/03

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A committee of the Swiss Nationalrat (lower house of parliament) late last month passed its version of a bill that will legalize the consumption and possession of marijuana for private use for persons above 16 years of age, but the bill passed by the Nationalrat committee levies such stiff taxes on the herb that it will cost more than it does under the current grey market operating in Switzerland. Under the Nationalrat committee bill, pot with a THC content of less than 10% will be taxed at a rate of slightly over $6 per gram, while higher-octane weed will be taxed at a rate of $10.75 per gram.

At those rates, an ounce of primo marijuana will have a tax burden of around $300, making it as expensive as black market marijuana in the United States -- and that's before any other charges are included in the sale price.

The tax scheme is not yet a done deal -- the entire Nationalrat will discuss the bill next month -- but if it stays in place, it could be a prescription for failure, according to at least one observer. Dale Gieringer, Europe-watcher and head of California NORML (http://www.canorml.org), said, "This is certainly no way to end criminal trafficking -- it's an open-ended invitation to smuggling. Let's hope the Swiss come to their senses. Like Zurich's Needle Park, this is a plan begging to fail."

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Issue #283, 4/18/03 DRCNet Interview: David Bronner | Ninth Circuit Court Blocks DEA Hemp Rule | The Week Online Still Needs Your Help! | Newsbrief: California Appeals Court Just Says No to "Hippie Profiling" | Newsbrief: House GOP Leadership Gives Cold Shoulder to "Truth in Trials" Medical Marijuana Bill | Newsbrief: Indiana Ponders Early Prisoner Release, Drug Possessors Included | Newsbrief: Legal Swiss Marijuana to Be Heavily Taxed, Black Market Profits Will Instead Be Windfall for Government | Newsbrief: CIA Propaganda Radio Rap Song Links Saddam to Demon Weed | Media Scan: Cato, Sojourners, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, Criminal Justice Journalists | Harm Reduction Jobs in Pittsburgh and New York | The Reformer's Calendar
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