FL Steve Wise, Darryl Rousan Propose 25% Bong Tax: Pricey Pipes?
Senator Steve Wise (R) and Representative Darryl Rouson (D) have proposed a bill that would "impose a surtax on specified smoking devices and pipes."
The proposed bill states, "regardless of whether such items are sold for legal purposes or in violation of the law," the pipes will be subject to a 25% tax. Rouson's latest addition to the bill includes only stores who make 75% of their profit from tobacco sales.
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The pair hope that the bill will eventually lead to a state-wide, complete elimination of all sales of these pipes.
Taxing Pot Addiction?
Rouson, who originally proposed the bill, struggled with addiction himself years ago.
The lawmaker said he’s been clean for more than 11 years after struggling with crack, alcohol and marijuana.
Rouson tells Bay News 9, "Hopefully there are those of good heart, good intentions, who understand the burden on society that's costing us from addiction, from the illnesses of people, from the drug trade."
Florida's Economy Dependent on Tourism
On the other end of the spectrum is Ford Banister, past president of the Jacksonville chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws and current head of the Committee for Sensible Marijuana Policy, pushing to decriminalize Marijuana in a number of Florida cities.
The idea that it’s going to stop people from smoking … is just ludicrous. You can make a bong out of an apple, out of a potato, out of pretty much anything you want to.
Nearly 100 small businesses selling tobacco and accessories could be in trouble if the law passes. Florida is said to be the top travel destination in the world and many tourists are college students. The tourism industry brings in $57 billion for the state.
Florida had one of the largest employment decreases in January of 2010, and set a new series high of 11.9%. Asking businesses to turn away any customers is still a sacrifice.