Study: Legal Marijuana Market Would Yield Over $3 Billion In Tax Revenue

  • by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director September 23, 2014

    Legalizing the retail production and sale of cannabis in the United States would yield over $3 billion in annual tax revenue, according to an analysis published this week by the personal finance website, NerdWallet.com.

    Authors provided a state-by-state economic analysis, taking into account available data estimating marijuana use rates (for those age 25 and older), cannabis market size, and state and local tax rates. Researchers also assumed a flat, 15 percent excise tax on commercial marijuana production. (This excise tax rate is presently imposed in Colorado.)

    Based on existing market projections, California would gain the largest amount of annual tax revenue ($519,287,052) were commercial cannabis production and sales to be legalized for adults. Other top tax revenue generating states include: New York ($248,103,676), Florida ($183,408,640), Texas ($166,303,963), and Illinois ($126,107,360).

    Washington, which began allowing retail cannabis sales this summer, is estimated to reap some $119,000,000 in annual tax revenue, according to the study’s projections. Colorado, which has allowed retail cannabis sales since January 1, 2014, is estimated to gain some $78,000,000 in annual revenue.

    Revenue projections for all 50 states are available online here.

    47 responses to “Study: Legal Marijuana Market Would Yield Over $3 Billion In Tax Revenue”

    1. TheOracle says:

      Pennsylvania could be raking in $104,235,067 per annum. The prohibitionists in the state have done an excellent job running the economy into the ground. When the federal stimulus money ran out because Pennsylvania spent all of it right away cannabis revenue could have helped avoid a whole lot of the hurt the state has been going through. Governor Corbett and his fellow republican prohibitionists–with few exceptions–have caused a financial mess that makes the state ripe for legalization, but only once the public’s state of denial about legalizing cannabis is out of the way.

      The state senator, a republican, representing northern Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, is pro-legalization after been bitten by the cancer bug. Take a look at the local NORML chapter for Lancaster, Pennsylvania, and you’ll find all the state republican politicians are against cannabis–even medical cannabis. Mike Sturla is a democrat, the only one for it. See for yourself.


      These republican prohibitionists don’t give a rat’s ass about what Dr. Sanjay Gupta says because he doesn’t vote in their districts. In one newspaper article or tv interview or another, they all are waiting for medical professionals who vote in their districts to stick their necks out and either draft a letter or tell them personally that they want to be able to recommend cannabis or even prescribe cannabis to their patients. Can you fuckin’ believe it!? Do they know how busy doctors are!? There must be some doctors in Pennsylvania who would do it if it were legal, and someone needs to help out the medical professionals and draft the letter and just have them sign it or something, then send it to each one of these republican prohibitionists. Same to be done in other parts of the state to both democratic and republican prohibitionist politicians who are spouting this same shit.

    2. Max says:

      Its good to see larger-picture reports like this!

      The folks @NerdWallet did a great job; they even made a cool map to show the data.

      Its an exciting time, for sure 😉

      Aloha, Max

    3. patricia jones says:

      now if people would just stop lying about the evil of us smoking or eating medicinal marijuana that would be just perfect

    4. Galileo Galilei says:

      Some serious numbers!

      Maybe this legalize marijuana stuff may catch on after all.

    5. Julian says:

      Thank you marijuana nerds at nerd wallet.com
      Thank you for publishing this before November elections in Texas! Now Texans go vote for Wendy Davis! Early voting ends October 30th. Voter Registration ends October 8th. You can still get friends and relatives on line at Vote-Texas.gov and click on the register tab. You can contact Cheyenne at Norml.org for events and Texas NORML meetings (every Second Wednesday at the Flamingo Cantina west 6th street.)
      Now we’re talking in the only language politicians understand; dollar signs

    6. Weed The People says:

      Taxing a free plant is just wrong

      [Editor’s note: Thinking cannabis (or any recreational drug) is going to be (or should be) tax free is politically naive and economically selfish. Possession amount of cannabis cultivated or traded among friends and/or patients for self enjoyment like beer or jams, sure. Cultivating and selling large amounts of any commodity or service is going to be taxed virtually everywhere on the planet (only real debate is HOW much the taxation rate). BTW, with the taxation of cannabis industry (and it is AN industry) comes the self-evident influence in politics. So-called ‘drug dealers’ possess no political sway. They are hunted, jailed and/or killed, not courted by elected policy makers and their gun-toting agencies.

      Will the end of cannabis prohibition be hastened and replaced with more free-market oriented public policies led by politically influential industry-types, or, by furtive, underground illegal marketers and tax scoffs?

      Think about it.]

    7. Miles says:

      To the average working person, $3,000,000,000 sounds like a lot. However, the way our Govt wastes money, it’s just a drop in the bucket… I fear it’s not enough to get the prohibitionists to change their minds and end their stupidity.

    8. Galileo Galilei says:

      The GOP should take a long, hard look at these numbers. Obviously, science doesn’t persuade them, but this money will.

      And when they finally join our ranks, the battle is over.

    9. Dr J says:

      Now let’s see what it is when we factor in money saved by the elimination I arrest, court, and expensive jails.

    10. jeff says:

      3 Billion a year might not be alot to our government but that is jsut the potential profits. what about the savings? Law Enforcment expences across the country to learn about, go after, prosecute, then jailing the victim. Im sure all expences linked to cannabis prohibition add up to much more then a mere 3 billion. our government should see this as a gold mine!