Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Legalizing pot all over U.S. could generate $28 billion in federal, state and local taxes, says study

Legalizing marijuana in the U.S. could "generate up to $28 billion in tax revenues for federal, state, and local governments, including $7 billion in federal revenue: $5.5 billion from business taxes and $1.5 billion from income and payroll taxes," says a study by the Tax Foundation. "A federal tax of $23 per pound of product, similar to the federal tax on tobacco, could generate $500 million per year. Alternatively, a 10 percent sales surtax could generate $5.3 billion per year, with higher tax rates collecting proportionately more." (Post graphic)

In states that have legalized marijuana revenue collections have exceeded initial estimates, says the study. Colorado, which anticipated $70 million in marijuana tax collections per year, will likely exceed $140 million this year. In Washington, sales are averaging more than $2 million a day with revenue potentially reaching $270 million per year. "If all states legalized and taxed marijuana, states could collectively expect to raise between $5 billion and $18 billion per year."

The study points out that large numbers of people are using marijuana, regardless of whether or not it is legal, Christopher Ingraham reports for The Washington Post. More than "13 percent of Americans 12 and older—35 million people—used marijuana in 2014. And 4.2 million of them met criteria for substance abuse or dependence," according to a National Survey on Drug Use and Health. "We're already paying the social cost of marijuana abuse, in other words. Increased tax revenues could help offset those costs."

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