Just how much are the taxes on cannabis turning out to be worth to the state government?
The first two states to legalize recreational marijuana have collectively raked in at least $200 million in marijuana tax revenue, according to the latest tax data — and they’re putting those dollars to good use.
In Colorado, after about a year and a half after the legalization of recreational marijuana sales, the state has collected more than $117 million in excise taxes from both the recreational and medical marijuana markets, according to the most recent data from the Colorado Department of Revenue.
Washington, on the other hand, has gotten off to a slower start. Its retail shops didn’t begin selling recreational marijuana until July of last year, but they are keeping steady with Colorado’s pace. About $83 million in excise taxes have already been collected within the year since sales first began, according to the most recent tax data from the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board.
Later in the article is this bit — the emphasis is mine.
“Our philosophy has been that marijuana pays its own way,” J. Skyler McKinley, deputy director of Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper’s (D) Office of Marijuana Coordination told the Huffington Post. “Every dime we bring in from legalization is dedicated to the cost of legalization. That’s regulatory framework first, then public education campaigns about safe and responsible use and then prevention and treatment programs.”
But the tax revenue from legal marijuana won’t solve a state’s budget problems all by itself, he added.
“The big lesson we tell other states is you probably shouldn’t legalize marijuana if you want to make money — that’s not why you do it,” McKinley said. “You do it because you think that a regulated marketplace might be safer than an unregulated marketplace or you believe that the war on drugs didn’t work.“
That last line I emphasized sums up nicely the shift in thinking on the issue of cannabis. From zero tolerance to actually considering the consequences of what we do. That’s a sea change, overdue and welcome. Hopefully a part of something bigger and better.
Around HMJ headquarters, we often say cannabis prohibition will end when we pay the ransom. Okay, how much?
The complete original post contains lots of individual detail from each of the re-legalized states. Find that post HERE.
[Image via: “Google images money”]
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