And other lessons on how morality can affect policy, from New England to the Bible Belt
Some people like to smoke marijuana. Some people like to drink beer. And some people like to do both. The amount that they do each depends on incentives -- for example, easy accessibility or higher prices of one of them -- but it's fair to say that for many people weed and beer are what economists would call substitute goods: if your consumption of one goes up, the other will go down, a phenomenon scientists have quantified in various contexts.
Enter into this tension a dude named weed who's trying to decrease Granite Staters' consumption of beer.
Chuck Weed, a Democratic New Hampshire state representative, has proposed increasing the state beer tax by 33 percent, from 30 to 40 cents per gallon, to pay for infrastructure improvements. (The bill's co-sponsor is from Greenville, for what it's worth.) The proposal would raise an estimated $4 million a year, but there are other proposals for increased revenue, including a higher gas tax. What's more, newly elected Governor Maggie Hassan, also a Democrat, won't raise her glass to Weed's proposal. "I want to let the people of New Hampshire know I oppose increasing the beer tax and I will veto it if it gets to my desk," she told reporters. Hassan might be wise to steer clear of the measure. In the state with the nation's greatest per-capita consumption of beer, such a levy could very well be, uh, kryptonite. (The state is also among the nation's highest consumers of weed.)