By Darren Smith, Weekend Contributor.
We are now seeing the fruition of the campaign to normalize in society state legal marijuana. We’ve discussed previously how those on probation in Washington State no longer will face prosecution for marijuana usage, and where marijuana shops and billboard advertisements are seen alongside energy drinks and beach ready bodies. Now Oregon, having recently legalized marijuana, hosts at its State Fair exhibitions and competitions featuring legal weed. Let the Fairijuana begin!
At the Oregon State Fair, you can rope a steer or rope-a-doper. Win ribbons in one of dozens of events judged by our fair’s experts, including: flower arrangements; glass making; bowl carving; chocolate cookies; brownies; and of course the other, traditional marijuana-free displays. A new rodeo event this year is guaranteed to excite: After two joints, see how long these young-buck cowboys can sit on a sawhorse without falling off.
Shameless attempts at humor aside, the fairijuana event is sponsored by the Oregon Cannabis Business Council. Chairman Don Morse stated that nine plants will be featured in a translucent greenhouse, restricted to those twenty-one years of age and older. This is the first fair exhibit reportedly in the United States to feature live marijuana plants.
The plants shown will be immature plants having not advanced sufficiently to produce flowering buds. This is unfortunately not unexpected given the bureaucratic morass of the state’s Liquor Control Commission’s rules prohibiting the transport of flowering plants. Thankfully, the state is not regulating rose bushes or other legal flowers. It’s not exactly a true state fair experience to see vases of stems and leaves. The commission expects however to finalize regulations and buds will be abound.
There will be judging among three cultivars of weed: sativa, indica, and hybrid categories and next year the fair expects to feature more events and booths.
Oregon’s state fair was not new to controversial shows and exhibits. Twenty years ago, the fair garnered considerable surprise to many when it featured a tattoo competition and exhibit.
Alas, the first true measure of the normalization of marijuana into Oregonian and Washingtonian societies will be when at state fairs, just as many people walk past the marijuana expositions as they presently do the flower, canned fruit, and brownie displays–rushing quickly as they must to catch the latest rodeo event, or the carnival rides. The only folks truly interested in such displays will be those old geezers and women who live on farms and like to win ribbons and trophies, except this time some will prefer tie-dyed shirts and dreadlocks.
By Darren Smith
The views expressed in this posting are the author’s alone and not those of the blog, the host, or other weekend bloggers. As an open forum, weekend bloggers post independently without pre-approval or review. Content and any displays or art are solely their decision and responsibility.
35 thoughts on “Oregon State Fair To Host Marijuana Exhibit: Just As It Does For Cattle And Pumpkins”
Indie Bob writes, “If you buy a $20,000.00 car you pay the sales tax on a $20,000.00 car. If you buy a $100,000.00 car you pay the sales tax on a $100,000.00 car. There are no write offs. Everybody pays. Poor people pay some, they don’t purchase as many goods and services as wealthier people. I honestly feel everyone should have some skin in the game . . .”
I promise that after my disastrous calculation above I won’t do them anymore. 🙂
As for the quoted language, in it you assume everyone in our economic system has the same rate of and capacity and desire for financial growth as you do. They don’t.
Many will be cast to the curb as your steamroll your way to glory. Some will have no knowledge of how to grow financially, or are uncompetitive by nature, and stay at the same or similar income level their entire lives by no fault of their own.
I have no doubt you believe in good faith that a flat sales tax would be constructive, but taxing goods and services at the same rate in lieu of an income tax and regardless of the consumers’ respective income levels would make even feudal lords and their kings envious of the resulting increase in wealth disparity.
This is a republic. Though we don’t have monarchs and titles of nobility, I don’t want a plutocracy either.
My mistake: Make that 3701 times $800.00 in today’s dollars or $2,961,194.00 as a threshold for the flat tax of three percent. So, although this is something of a diversion, perhaps the flat tax during the Civil War applied to only the wealthy?
Steve this is where we are going to disagree. I do feel that a national sales tax is much fairer than a punitive income tax. Income taxes, tax production. Sales taxes tax consumption. If you buy a $20,000.00 car you pay the sales tax on a $20,000.00 car. If you buy a $100,000.00 car you pay the sales tax on a $100,000.00 car. There are no write offs. Everybody pays. Poor people pay some, they don’t purchase as many goods and services as wealthier people. I honestly feel everyone should have some skin in the game. I am open to some form of a corporate income tax, as long as it does not act like a drag on business and is not designed by some lefty/progressive who just wants to hurt the private sector. Obviously I am not into class warfare. If you have more assets than I do so be it. Our current tax system is much too complicated, the average American could never figure it out. When it comes to someone like Warren Buffet. Mr. Buffet complains that he doesn’t pay enough taxes. On our tax forms there is a place where you can write in a number for more money that you would like to contribute to the U.S Treasury. Mr. Buffet should just shut up and fill in the space and write a check. I have no animosity towards Mr. Buffet for the wealth he has accumulated. I just don’t like hypocrites.
Our state supreme court ruled that income taxes are unconstitutional and politicians who actively promoted one in a serious manner usually do not politically survive the next election. Few believe in this state that if the pols decide to enact a new law to tax it will not in two or three years morph into an even greater taxation levy rate. As such if the legislature amended the state constitution to allow for income taxes there would be a backlash so strong it would border on a revolt.
As a result the state taxes nearly everything else at high levels and use much chicanery. Some call it a very regressive tax structure, however there are exceptions such as food, medical equipment, seeds, and prescriptions (unless it is medical marijuana of course because the legislature went on the warpath against it because it didn’t bring in big taxes to them.)
For sin taxes the state is pennywise and pound foolish. In the case of cigarettes the legislature likes to point out that increasing cigarette taxes leads to reductions in consumption. However these numbers do not take into account the revenue lost to bootlegging from Reservations and untaxed smokes brought in from other states. The state loses hundreds of millions of dollars every biennium due to cigarette bootlegging. Individuals with lower income levels smoke significantly more than those in the middle or upper classes. Their nicotine addiction costs them higher in relation to the gross income than more financially fortunate others. Also, instead of smoking less they will buy less expensive varieties of sin-taxed commodities.
The city council in Olympia voted recently to tax those making over 200k per year under the auspices of paying for one to two years of college for all HS or GED grads residing in the city. The law, aside from its obvious unconstitutionality, is foolishly constructed. Among other things it mandates that the city pay for school and this entitlement could break the city budget if parents or majority age students moved into token apartments for the senior year and as a result swelled enrollment. Plus, the only way the city can receive information about an individual’s taxation is voluntary disclosure by the taxpayers and most will tell the city to, well, you know.
Plus, politically, I view giving more tax to politicians increases the size of government to pay for pet-projects and grow a bureaucracy that often only serves to further and unnecessarily regulate the lives of ordinary people and small businesses. (because large corporations often employ these pols for their own needs) And, since legislatures it seems tend to spend 110% of the tax revenue they control the budget deficits grow as the taxation increases.
This state is big on excise taxes. Because such taxes are paid based on the price of the good or service sold. Some excise taxes are extraordinarily high. In fact, a business can operate at a loss yet still be liable for excise taxes, which is unlike income tax where it is based upon net positive income. These again hurt small businesses and the self-employed because the level of taxation to profit makes the excise taxes a higher proportion to income for small businesses than they do large companies.
But regardless of tax levels it is of course mandatory to pay whatever tax is due. Yet, we are equally obligated to only pay Only what is due and no more.
Darren: You’ll get no argument from me with regard to bloated bureaucracy, pet projects, campaign contribution corruption, etc., not to mention the waste of time and money every year to comply with state and federal law, arising from income taxation.
It’d be interesting to read your supreme court’s opinion with regard to the unconstitutionality of taxation. I would assume it speaks to Washington state taxation as opposed to federal taxation, the latter of which clearly being constitutional if the tax is direct and apportioned between the states. Then, in 1913, the 16th Amendment authorized direct taxation of income to be unapportioned.
I am willing to concede that some taxation is required to fund our infrastructure and defense. Apparently, until 1913, excise tax and tariffs were the major sources of federal revenue.
During the Civil War a flat tax of 3% on income was first imposed for incomes above $800.00. What that would be in today’s dollars is lost on me. If we take the cost of the Civil War ($6.7B) as a share of GDP back then, the relative value of the Civil War in today’s dollars would have been $24.8T or about 37 times as much. So, by this measure. the threshold income level for the flat tax would have been very roughly $29,600.00 in today’s dollars. This comparison is probably inappropriate, but it suggests that the working class and the leisure class were both susceptible to this tax.
I have no problem with a flat income tax if it includes any and all gross income. If anything, the 2008 collapse proves that the mortgage-interest deduction, golden parachutes, and corporate jets and bailouts, among other things, as social and economic engineering tools fail us. Engineering ourselves individually seems much the better way to do it, along with a new peaceful and cooperative economic system.
Indie Bob, I agree with you re the non-punitive nature of levying a sales tax. In that respect, cigarettes, alcohol and marijuana shouldn’t be taxed at any rate above any other sales tax. True enough.
I do have a problem, however, with sales tax as a substitute for income tax for the same reason I have a problem with a flat income tax for all income levels, which is relatively unfair. Bill Gates, Charles Koch, or Larry Ellison paying the same amount of sales tax on goods and services in lieu of income tax would be grossly unfair to the rest of us.
Frankly, I think the top tax rate for their corporations should go up to 91%, too, like it used to be before it was decided to screw labor while at the same time reducing corporate tax and placing burden the middle class taxpayer to pay for it. It’ll get them to maintain capital reserves and keep their companies growing rather than distributing income to their drooling shareholders.
Steve – Hillary is on record as saying she will continue to tax the middle class instead of the upper class.
Paul, she’s so dreamy for one who has to be “squeezed through the door of respectability” (Tim Black).
Trey Gowdy should be appointed the special prosecutor:
Steve Groen, you’re right about sales taxes. I’m for sales taxes over income taxes, but the taxes should be fair and equitable, not punitive. I heard that Colorado has taken in a lot of tax money from the sale of pot.
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