The State of Colorado brought in roughly 135 million dollars in tax revenues and fees during 2015. That’s not exactly small potatoes. 2016 is projected to be an even bigger year for Colorado in regards to marijuana taxes and fees. Oregon and Washington are also generating a lot of government revenue from legalized marijuana, and with Alaska generating revenue for the first time starting in 2016. The question has been asked a lot, ‘how much would it be if marijuana were legal across the entire United States?’ According to a recent study, that number would be about 28 billion dollars. Per the Washington Post:
The federal government and most states are throwing away $28 billion in yearly tax revenue by not legalizing marijuana, according to a new analysis from the Tax Foundation, an independent think tank.
The bulk of that revenue — $20.5 billion of it — would accrue to states through the collection of excise taxes on marijuana sales, general sales taxes, and income and payroll taxes levied on workers and businesses in a mature legal marijuana industry.
The federal government would take in another $7.5 billion, primarily from income and payroll taxes, and $500 million in excise taxes if marijuana were to be taxed the same way tobacco is.
These figures of course don’t include the money that would be saved from not enforcing marijuana prohibition. According to a study conducted by Jeffrey Miron, an economist who works for Harvard University, marijuana enforcement costs almost 9 billion dollars a year in the United States. That number would obviously also be added to the previous study’s number, meaning that legalization would basically create 37 billion dollars a year out of thin air for America. And more importantly, prevent lives from being ruined. That’s something that everyone should support.