Should Your State Legalize Pot?

With the economical benefits of legalized marijuana working for Colorado, is your state the next in line?

Photo via Creative Commons
Photo via Creative Commons
In January of this year, the state of Colorado began legal sales of marijuana. While the decision to sell marijuana has caused a great deal of controversy and attracted scrutiny from the federal government, one thing that’s not debatable is its economic impact.

Since Colorado began allowing the sale of marijuana:
  • The state has realized $6.17 million in tax revenue in the first two months of pot sales. Experts estimate that number will grow to $98 million by the end of the next fiscal year.
  • Consumers spent $14.02 million per month on marijuana purchases through the state’s 59, at the time, recreational dispensaries.
  • The recent stoner holiday of 4/20 caused a tourism boom. There was 78 percent increase, spent tens of thousands on marijuana tours that week.
According to a 2013 report released by ArcView, a San-Francisco based investor group specifying in marijuana’s economic pull, the estimated net worth of legal marijuana nationwide within the next five years is valued at $10.2 billion.

In Colorado, the first $40 of state revenue generated from marijuana sales will go toward school construction projects.

Legislators in Colorado are still deciding how to spend the remaining tax revenue, and municipalities are getting involved as well.

Denver passed its own 3 to 6 percent city tax, which has legal pot supporters in the state complaining of excessive taxation.

Legal marijuana proposals are barreling forward with 21 states, including: California, Connecticut, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Rhode Island and D.C.

Eleven states are considering medical marijuana measures, including: Florida, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania and South Carolina.

Colorado’s experiment with marijuana legalization will serve as a testing ground for other states considering similar measures.

"Colorado's going to help the nation learn what works and what doesn't,” Pat Oglesby, a former congressional tax staffer who studies marijuana's tax potential at the Chapel Hill, N.C., Center for New Revenue, said.

Given the obvious economic benefits to state coffers and small businesses through legalization of marijuana, what do you think about the possibility of legalization in your town or state? Do the benefits outweigh the social costs, if any?

Is taxing marijuana an unfair state government money grab? Should its taxation and regulation be more on par with alcohol? Is marijuana legalization in your town inevitable or not worth the social costs? Sound off in the comments.


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