A conservative estimate of $3 billion in marijuana tax revenue could be potentially made if the drug is legalized in the upcoming elections for drug policy reform
San Francisco, CA (PRWEB) October 24, 2014
Numerous states, at least 17 municipalities, and one U.S. territory will vote on whether or not to legalize marijuana for either medical or recreational purposes on November 4. USMedicalMarijuana.net reports a tax revenue increase potentially amounting to billions of dollars will result after legalization.
A recent cannabis tax projection study was conducted by NerdWallet Finance showed that when combining states such as Florida, Alaska, Oregon, Washington, D.C. and others, a conservative estimate of $3 billion in marijuana tax revenue could be potentially made if the drug is legalized in the upcoming elections for drug policy reform. According to NerdWallet the state of California alone has potential to generate over $519 million - an amount almost covering the entire California Department of Parks and Recreation budget for 2013.
In Oregon, Portland City Council has been meeting to discuss whether to join the other 17 Oregon cities in preemptively putting a tax on marijuana. If they proceed with their proposed plan to put 10 percent tax on recreational marijuana, Portland could generate anywhere from $1.7 million and $4 million in annual revenue based on their sales and revenue forecasts. The city council, however, made a unanimous decision to discard the proposed 5 percent tax on medical marijuana.
Colorado was the first state to legalize the sale of recreational marijuana in the U.S., and is expected to rake in anywhere from $60 million to $70 million in taxes on the sales of marijuana this year. In the first six months of 2014, the state has already collected over $25 million in taxes of legal pot sales.
Among the top states looking to legalize marijuana on November 4 are Florida, Oregon, and Alaska.
Florida’s Amendment 2 is the only statewide medical marijuana initiative on the ballot this year, which would make it the first southern state to adopt a law on medical marijuana. Earlier this year, Florida passed a very limited law on medical marijuana, allowing a narrow pool of qualified patients to use a marijuana strain low in THC - the drug’s psychoactive ingredient - for medical purposes. Amendment 2 will legalize marijuana as a form of treatment for debilitating medical conditions like multiple sclerosis, cancer, hepatitis C, HIV, AIDS, Parkinson’s disease, Crohn’s disease, and glaucoma.
The passage of Measure 91 in Oregon will make it the third state to legalize marijuana for adults outright. The state’s initiative will create a statewide system that regulates production and sales, and will legalize possession of marijuana in small amounts for individuals 21 years old and above. Similar to Colorado’s law, adults will also be allowed to cultivate small amounts of marijuana under controlled circumstances. Measure 91 will tax marijuana at the point of sales at $35 per ounce.
Since the 1970s, the Alaska Constitution has allowed for the possession and cultivation of marijuana in small amounts for personal use in a private residence. In fact, it was among the first states alongside Oregon to legalize marijuana for medical purposes in 1998. The statewide Measure 2 initiative that legalizes marijuana for adult use is closely based on Colorado’s Amendment 64, and also contains several elements from Oregon’s potential law. Its passage will tax marijuana at the point of sales at $50 per ounce, and will make Alaska the first red state with full marijuana legalization.
Although the District of Columbia already adopted a marijuana decriminalization law earlier this year, the DC Cannabis Campaign (dcmj.org) believes that the measure does not go far enough. Initiative 71 will make it legal for adults to cultivate and possess marijuana in small amounts, and even gift marijuana to adults 21 years old and above.
U.S. territory Guam, like Florida, will also be voting on the legalization of medical marijuana to treat debilitating conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis, glaucoma, epilepsy, and arthritis. Their ballot initiative would also permit dispensaries regulated by the Department of Public Health and Social Services.
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