Put your thinking cap on. Try to think of a state that has enough tax revenue coming in, and doesn’t need more revenue. This of course is a rhetorical question. Every state in the nation could use more tax revenue, and in the case of some states, they desperately need every penny they can get. Roads are falling apart, bridges are in danger of collapsing, schools are underfunded, and the list goes on and on.
Now, consider the fact that the State of Washington generated $148,256 in excise taxes from legal cannabis sales in just the first three days that sales were allowed (July 7th, 8th, and 9th). The first three days of sales only saw 24 licensed retailers in Washington State, and many were not open the first three days of sales. After 10 days, the tax revenue climbed to over $300,000 on excise taxes alone. These tax revenue numbers don’t include the state sales tax.
From The Seattle Times:
Washington state will add more than $318,000 to its coffers as a result of 10 days of legal retail marijuana sales, according to figures provided by the state’s Liquor Control Board.
That number reflects $1.27 million in sales throughout the supply chain, including those from suppliers to retailers, but does not account for sales tax or business and occupation (B&O) taxes. Here’s a day-by-day breakdown of the state’s tax haul:
The tax figures show much lower figures for the second week of sales, which could be a result of supply shortages that forced several stores to close their doors. Seattle’s Cannabis City, for example, ran out of pot July 11.
Hundreds of more stores will open during the next year, and many more cultivators will also get licenses. Supply shortages will eventually go away, and tax revenues will grow exponentially as a result. What will the actual annual tax revenue amount end up being? Only time will tell. However, I think it’s safe to say that it will be a very sizable amount. Those tax dollars will be put to good use in Washington State. The Evergreen State is already using the new marijuana revenue stream to fund drug prevention programs designed to keep minors from using marijuana and an anti-driving-while-impaired campaign.
Cannabis legalization not only generates much needed tax revenue, it also generates jobs, boosts local economies and better prioritizes law enforcement resources. Cannabis legalization saves tax dollars because money that was previously dedicated to cannabis prohibition enforcement can now go to fighting real crime. It’s a winning scenario no matter which way you look at it. It’s time every state in America took a new approach. While the legalization regime in Washington has been a bit bumpy, it is certainly preferable to prohibition and arresting thousands of people every year for non-violent cannabis offenses. Oregon has an even better approach on this year’s ballot that we should all support.