Legalization Might Mean $28B in Tax Revenue

Legalization Might Mean $28B in Tax Revenue

On Friday, we wrote about how Aurora, Colorado is using the tax revenue generated by marijuana sales to help the homeless.

It’s an inspiring story, and as legislatures across the country begin to see how much money they’re leaving on the table, we hope it pushes more states toward reforming their marijuana laws.

On that note, the tax marijuana argument got a little more convincing yesterday, as the Washington Post reported on a new Tax Foundation study about what legal, regulated marijuana could mean for government budgets.

“Many in public policy circles believe the Tax Foundation skews conservative.  Fortunately, that didn’t stop the D.C. think tank from finding that the United States could see $28 billion in additional funds if it were to legalize marijuana.”

Now, on paper, the D.C. think tank is allegedly non-partisan, though many in political circles believe the organization tends to skew toward the conservative end of the spectrum. But that didn’t stop the group from finding that the United States could see $28 billion in additional funds if it were to legalize marijuana.

How accurate the $28B figure is? That’s anyone’s guess. But as Tax Foundation analysts were keen to mention, Colorado is actually generating twice as much cash from marijuana as it expected to pre-legalization.

Later this year, it’s almost a given that California will finally vote to legalize marijuana, so it will be interesting to see what kind of numbers the eighth-largest economy in the world will reap from any repeal. Obviously, as more states vote for marijuana reform, any projections about what Uncle Sam would see will become more accurate.

The bigger question, of course, is whether conservative Republicans will be swayed by any fiscal argument about legalizing marijuana. After all, the War on Drugs was famously launched by Republican Richard Nixon, and it was recently revealed that the initiative was actually designed to put black people and hippies in jail, not improve public health or safety. By that metric, it’s been phenomenally successful, and it’s still working overtime to keep voters unlikely to vote Republican behind bars.

As more states take steps to end marijuana prohibition, we’re sure to see the fiscal argument gain strength, and Price of Weed will cover it every step of the way. Stay tuned.

[ via the Washington Post ]

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