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Report: Legal Marijuana Could Generate $132 Billion in Taxes and 1 Million Jobs

by Countable | 1.22.18

What’s the story?

Legalizing marijuana nationwide could generate $131.8 billion in federal tax revenue and add 1.1 million jobs in the next decade, according to a new study.

Why does it matter?

“When there are budget deficits and the like, everybody wants to know where is there an additional revenue stream, and one of the most logical places is to go after cannabis and cannabis taxes,” said Beau Whitney, a senior economist at New Frontier Data, the cannabis analytics firm that compiled the report.

The study shows that legalizing pot across the U.S. would add $131.8 billion to the Treasury by 2025—this would come from a 15 percent retail tax, 35 percent business tax, and payroll tax deductions. Sales tax alone on legal weed would generate $51.7 billion between 2017 and 2025.

New Frontier Data also found that legalizing cannabis in all 50 states would immediately add 782,000 jobs to the economy, with the number increasing to 1.1 million by 2025.

Critics of national marijuana legalization dismissed the report.

"Every $1 in revenue costs $10 in social consequences,” said Kevin Sabet, president and CEO of Smart Approaches to Marijuana, an anti-legalization group. Sabet told the Statesman Journal that down-the-road costs – including car and workplace accidents and mental health problems – outweigh any tax and employment benefits.

Earlier this month, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced the Justice Department was ending the policy that allowed states to relax restrictions on recreational pot without the threat of federal interference.

What do you think?

Are you in favor of legalizing pot in all 50 states? Or do you agree with Sessions’ move? Hit Take Action and tell your reps, then share your comments below.

—Josh Herman

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(Photo Credit: OlyaSolodenko / iStock)

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(36)
  • Tj
    01/22/2018
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    $132 billion in U.S. tax revenues and an estimated 1.1 million jobs by 2025 seems like a wise decision when our country faces an approximately $19 trillion dollar deficit. On principle, our country was founded fiscally on the production of tobacco. We know scientifically today that tobacco smoking in cigarettes causes the deaths of approximately 480,000 or more U.S. citizens each year, and cannabis deaths have no confirmed fatalities. The point that anti-cannabis groups make of every $1 of revenue from cannabis sales being then responsible for $10 of social consequences is an absurd statement. I would ask, based off of what scientific or public policy studies? This has not been the case in Colorado or California, where they have actually seen a reduction in violent crime rate. Attorney General Jeff Sessions is undoubtedly in the wrong by ending a relaxed policy of federal prosecution towards states that have democratically decided they want cannabis in their state, which at this point is 29 states. Cannabis is unjustly classified as a schedule 1 drug, alongside heroin and meth. Schedule 1 drugs by definition have no medicinal or health benefits. Terpenes, a type of organic compound produced by plants, alongside THC, CBD and other cannabinoids have been scientifically proven to provide specific health benefits, including treatment for cancer, epilepsy, fibromyalgia, etc. which by definition deserves a rescheduling of cannabis as a drug by the federal government.

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  • Poli.Sci
    01/22/2018
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    It should be up to the states to legalize and collect taxes on marijuana, not the Federal government. If you increase revenue for the Federal government, it only gets bigger and bigger problems are created from the expanded income. It does not teach the Federal government to be smaller and work within its budgets. Let the states generate the income for they understand what needs to be fixed more than the Federal Congressional employees who hang out away from their constituencies.

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  • BeStrong
    01/22/2018
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    Just legalize it already. The revenue opportunities and tax benefits are just another argument that cannot be ignored. Then get off the pot and get pot off of the Schedule 1 drug list so these business can move away from a risky cash only business structure. **And since we won’t be needing all that cot space in the for profit prison system, let’s give GeoGroup and CoreCivic their pink slip.**

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  • Wyoming4178
    01/23/2018
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    I support legalization of cannabis. When some say let the individual state determine cannabis legalization. No do not leave it up to individual states. It’s legal in one state and not the other. Gay marriage was an issue left up to individual states and what we got was a big mess. Legalization now.

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  • Jennifer
    01/23/2018
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    No society has ever successfully legislated moral behaviors. Drugs, prostitution, alcohol, etc. Did we learn nothing from Prohibition? The only thing that prohibition has done is increase crime, make criminals out of users, increase the number of criminal cartels and all the additional crime they create, and provide temptation for corruption within law enforcement agencies. I would much rather see the DEA dissolved and those funds diverted towards creating Community Mental Health Centers and Drug Rehab Centers—in every Community. Legalize Marijuana and let the states use the taxes to benefit their own citizens. BUT, there should be harsh penalties—enforced penalties—for driving under the influence or for providing to anyone under 18 years of age. Oh...and those out of work DEA agents? If they want to keep their jobs they should be re-trained for border security, following up on E-Verified employers and visa overstays!

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  • CSACatholic
    01/22/2018
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    It really should be up to a state to decide, but ultimately I’m in favor of this. As much as I may dislike the drug it’ll cut down federal and state prison intake, as well as make a safer drug since you don’t have to deal with cartels, as well as the regulations that will indefinitely be put on it. Summary: it’ll make massive money for people, states, lower prison populations, and a safer drug.

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  • Jesse
    01/22/2018
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    I favor this

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  • Carol
    01/22/2018
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    Legalizing absolutely Yes

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  • Anne
    01/23/2018
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    Legalize marijuana!!!

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  • Mark
    01/23/2018
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    And MILLIONS SAVED in releasing incarcerated minimal amount marijuana related convicts.

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  • Keith
    01/23/2018
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    Look at what happened in Colorado! They made so much money from the sales of marijuana, that they were able to give money back to the people. Marijuana is safer than tobacco and alcohol, and yet it’s treated like heroin. Sugar is responsible for more health risks than marijuana. Plus, it’s been known to help soldiers with PTSD, as well as helps with anxiety and depression (the two most common mental health challenges in America). So legalize it already.

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  • Bluewitsend
    01/23/2018
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    I support legalization of Marijuana. Legalize ,regulate and tax it. Then Research it for its medical qualities to help the opioid crisis.

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  • Susan
    01/30/2018
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    Legalize it and use the resulting taxes at least in part for programs for kids at risk, drug rehab and counseling.

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  • Mark
    01/24/2018
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    Legalize and federally decriminalize pot and use the tax money generated towards either Senator Bernie Sanders Medicare or College For All legislation!

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  • Linda
    01/23/2018
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    Legalize it everywhere. Then we can stop fighting over what gets funded. We should be able to fund health care for all, college education for all, national park care and maintenance, etc. Just don’t let the GOP put their bloody hands on the money generated. They have enough yachts and shoes. We need to put a progressive government in place first, to prevent that from happening.

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  • Emani
    01/23/2018
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    Sometimes the states are not capable of making Intelligent decisions for the obvious greater good. Let marijuana legalization be a federal thing and let it be legalized in all 50 states. There's proven positive effects on our economy and then negative effects that come with anything such as cigarettes but even those things are legal.

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  • Rebecca
    01/23/2018
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    Cannabis has been proven to help many diseases such as Parkinson’s, MS, epilepsy, and pain. It seems as though the pharmaceutical companies do not want legalized marijuana for medicinal purposes. They profit big time from Opiod pain medicine. If you want to help with the opioid crisis, start there. The Republicans seem to be very Pro states rights. They should let the states that know what is best for their people keep legalized marijuana and not punish them federally. This is a no-brainer. The opioid crisis would be over if we had legalized medicinal marijuana nationally. No one dies of a marijuana overdose!

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  • David
    01/23/2018
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    Why does the discussion of legalization and taxation always go hand in hand? How about legalize and just charge regular sales tax? Any legislation concerning legalization also need to address amnesty for the countless innocent folks in jail today for non-violent drug offenses.

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  • Deanna
    04/30/2018
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    Legalize Federally

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  • Steve
    01/23/2018
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    Vote yes on DACA please

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