Report: Tax Revenue From Retail Marijuana Sales Exceeds Expectations

  • by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director October 17, 2016

    legalization_pollTax revenue collection from retail marijuana sales in Colorado, Oregon, and Washington is exceeding initial projections, according to a new report published by the Drug Policy Alliance.

    Marijuana-related tax revenue in Colorado totaled $129 million over the 12-month period ending May 31, 2016 – well exceeding initial estimates of $70 million per year, the report found. In Washington, tax revenue totaled $220 million for the 12-month period ending June 30, 2016. Regulators had initially projected that retail sales would bring in $162 million in new annual tax revenue. In Oregon, marijuana-related tax revenues are yielding about $4 million per month – about twice what regulators initially predicted. (Alaska has yet to begin collecting tax revenue from cannabis businesses.)

    The report also finds that adult use marijuana legalization has not been associated with any increases in youth use of the substance, nor has it had an adverse impact on traffic safety. “In Colorado and Washington the post-legalization traffic fatality rate has remained statistically consistent with pre-legalization levels, is lower in each state than it was a decade prior, and is lower than the national rate,” it determined. A separate report published by the CATO Institute recently provided similar findings.

    In addition, the new reports finds that marijuana-related arrest totals have fallen significantly in jurisdictions post-legalization. According to the DPA’s report, the total number for all annual marijuana-related arrests decreased by 59 percent in Alaska, by 46 percent in Colorado, by 85 percent in the District of Columbia, and by 50 percent in Oregon. In Washington, the number of low-level marijuana court filings fell by 98 percent.

    To read the full report, please click here.

    4 Responses to “Report: Tax Revenue From Retail Marijuana Sales Exceeds Expectations”

    1. Mark Mitcham says:


      Well, to be honest, it’s hard to get excited about all the money business-people are making off poor working class stoners like me, in an economy where a working class grunt can’t even afford their own apartment. Rich people shouldn’t brag about their money to the poor people who they are exploiting to get that very money.

      We don’t complain because we love weed and freedom. Being exploited by Capitalism certainly beats going to prison for it!

      Let me be clear: I prefer the dispensary to the street. It’s better quality, better prices, and honest counts. I’m living the cannabis dream now, and wild horses couldn’t drag me back to the old ways.

      But let us not forget: that money isn’t clean.

      That money is only possible because these dispensaries are still charging prohibition-level prices. And they can do that only because of the fact that prohibition is still in effect in most other places in America.

      As NORML has pointed out in previous blogs, the actual price for legal pot, were it treated like an ordinary agricultural product, would be “pennies on the pound.”

      Think about that for a second: that would drive the dispensaries right out of business!

      Do you believe Capitalism is a force for social good? Then let’s look and see: As legalization advances, will the marijuana industry support driving themselves out of business for the sake of legalization? Would any business do that? I doubt it. That’s why the business community (that’s including the “businesses” of asset forfeiture and incarcerations) is always against us, from drug testing employees, to financial donations to our political enemies (Alcohol, Big Pharma, etc.)

      And that’s the problem with Capitalism: it divides America into the Rich and the Fleeced.

      But hey, look, I’m not mad at you dispensary owners… for the time being, you just keep on enjoying my hard-earned money, and I’ll just keep on enjoying your high-quality weed!

    2. Galileo Galilei says:

      Good news for NORML. Good news for the states involved. Good news for the good ol’ USA. Good news for modern man, period.

    3. Julian says:

      Attention Congress, this is legalization speaking; to save your election, please exit the Prohibition Train at the next terminal. Please do not forget your votes or carry on items as the doors will be closing after ballots are counted.
      NORML would like to welcome you to the Legalization Train. Vaporizers are available on the lower decks and pre-rolled marijuana joints are available in the upstairs conference lobby. Please feel free to converse with your voting constituents there in our fire-resistant hemp lounge.
      We at NORML hope you enjoy your trip on the L-train. This train is built and powered by %100 hemp biofuels. Enjoy. (Ding* “Next stop, Federal Cannabanking.”)

      • Mark Mitcham says:

        Woooooo Wooooo!
        (sound effects)
        No second-class jail cells — I mean compartments — on this train! Everybody rides first class!

    Leave a Reply