When voters in Alaska, Oregon, Washington, D.C., Florida and Guam head to the polls in November to decide whether to legalize marijuana, either for medical or recreational use, some may wonder how much new tax revenue legalization might bring in. The answer, according to early returns in Colorado and Washington: nobody knows, reports Stateline. In Washington, which opened the doors to recreational marijuana on July 9, the state expects to collect taxes of $3 million on sales of $12 million as of September 8.
In Colorado, sales of retail marijuana have reaped about $18.9 million in state taxes (with a percentage to go to local governments) from January through June 30, according to the state Department of Revenue. That's about 46 percent of what the Colorado Legislative Council, the nonpartisan research staff to the state's General Assembly, predicted before legalization. Legalization advocates say that however much tax revenue legal marijuana generates, it is money that would have otherwise ended up in the black market. Lana Beck of the Drug Free America Foundation, which opposes the legalization for recreational use, said the revenue raised will not be sufficient to cover costs to society of increased marijuana use.