Legal cannabis has changed America as we once knew it. States, which have legalized, are witnessing a massive economic boom via tax revenue created by this new and popular industry. What does this mean, however? Why should we care? How much money are states bringing in? What is this money going towards? The following are statistics regarding cannabis tax revenue for 4 notable states.
Medical cannabis sales were more than $42 million in the first 4 months of opening the first dispensary. During the first month of legalization, in fact, the states' Department of Licensing and Regulation noted $7.1 million in sales, alone. Just a month later, that number went up to almost $12 million. Recently, the state legalized cannabis for recreational purposes
Michigan citizens have seen much more than just increased tax revenue. Legalizing cannabis has also created businesses and new employment opportunities.
In fiscal year 2017, Washington made over $300 million in legal cannabis income and license fees. The majority of which, came from the state's cannabis sales tax. Cannabis sales reached $1.3 billion that year, up from $786 million in fiscal year 2016, and $259 million the year prior.
Washington allocates some of the money to substance-abuse education and treatment programs. However, the largest portion helps the state pay for its Medicaid responsibility. Almost 1.8 million low-income Washington residents are on Medicaid.
Renowned as one of the most 420-friendly of our 50 states, California has, likewise, witnessed an economic explosion on behalf of legal marijuana. The state made almost $350 million in 2018, and more people are pouring into California each and every day - not only for the ganja, but the sun, and sand, and everything else the state has become popular for.
California's government has directed marijuana tax revenue pay for administrative costs associated with cannabis legalization first. The excess funds are for used for programs related to drug abuse, including economic development, academic studies, and youth programs. Countless jobs have been created, both in dispensaries and grow facilities.
The first state to legalize cannabis (for both medical and recreational use) just might be benefitting the most from marijuana tax revenue. Since 2014, when the Department of Revenue started recorded data relating to marijuana, the state has made over $1 billion in total cannabis taxes, licenses, and fee revenue. This year alone, Colorado has made over $138 million.
Colorado’s infrastructure has improved significantly thanks to all this extra cash. The state has improved its roads, schools, public health facilities, and created countless jobs in a booming industry. Like California, Colorado has witnessed a drop in crime and substance abuse, as well as the establishment of cleaner and safer communities.
Given the plethora of benefits and surplus of tax revenue inherently related to legalizing cannabis, isn't it time to push for legalization at a federal level? Imagine if every state were to make similar profits. States like Kansas and Missouri and southern states who are still damaged by the depletion of fossil fuels could arguably make a complete 180 due to legal marijuana revenue.