Legal Pot Industry Could Bring Billions in Annual State and Federal Taxes


A legal marijuana industry could contribute billions of dollars in annual tax revenues to state and federal governments, according to a report by the Tax Foundation released on May 12, 2016.

“If all states legalized and taxed marijuana, states could collectively expect to raise between $5 billion and $18 billion per year,” the report said. “While these amounts are not stratospheric, they are considerable and exceed additional enforcement and regulatory costs incurred by the states.”

The report points to the state of Colorado, where taxes from marijuana are expected to reach $140 million this year. In the state of Washington, where marijuana sales average more than $2 million daily, annual tax revenues eventually could hit $270 million, the report said.

Meanwhile, federal taxes on businesses could bring in $5.5 billion, with another $1.5 billion from taxes on income and pay roll, the report said.

If Washington, D.C., were to levy a $23-per-pound tax on marijuana – similar to the tax on cigarettes – the federal government could gain up to $500 million annually. If lawmakers were to choose a 10 percent sales surtax, the federal government could see as much as $5.3 billion each year, the report said.

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