Regardless of your feelings about legalizing marijuana, it’s hard to deny that legal weed would be a bonanza for cash-strapped states, just as tobacco and alcohol already are.
With Colorado and Washington starting to tax and regulate recreational weed sales, and medical marijuana legal in 18 other states, we can finally start to put some hard numbers on the industry’s value.
$1.53 billion: The amount the national legal marijuana market is worth, according to a Nov. 2013 report from ArcView Market Research, a San Francisco-based investor group focused on the marijuana industry.
$10.2 billion: The estimated amount the national legal marijuana market will be worth in five years, according to that same ArcView report.
$6.17 million: The amount of tax revenue collected in Colorado on legal marijuana sales in just the first two months of 2014.
$98 million: The total tax revenue that Colorado could reap in the fiscal year that begins in July, according to a recent budget proposal from Gov. John Hickenlooper.
$40 million: The amount of marijuana tax revenue Colorado is devoting to public school construction.
7,500-10,000: The estimated number of marijuana industry jobs that currently exist in Colorado, according to Michael Elliott, the Executive Director of the Marijuana Industry Group, a trade association that advocates for responsible marijuana regulation.
$190 million: The amount in taxes and fees legal marijuana is projected to raise for the state of Washington over four years starting in mid-2015, according to the Economic and Revenue Forecast Council, an independent agency that advises the state government on the budget and tax revenue.
$105 million: The estimated annual sales tax revenue generated by medical marijuana dispensaries in California, according to the Marijuana Policy Project, a Washington, D.C.-based group that supports legalization. $142.19 million: The estimated size of the medical marijuana market in Arizona in 2014, according to the ArcView Market Research report, up from $35.37 million last year. Arizona has a record 80 medical pot dispensaries currently open, with more expected to open this year, according to AZMarijuana.com.
$36 million: The amount of estimated tax revenue Maine would earn every year if it legalized and regulated marijuana, according to a 2013 estimate from the Marijuana Policy Project. Portland, Maine’s largest city, voted to legalize weed in November, and a grassroots campaign to get state legalization on the ballot in 2016 is underway.
$21.5 to $82 million: The amount of estimated tax revenue Rhode Island would earn every year if it legalized and regulated marijuana, according to an April 9 report from the non-profit organization Open Doors. Rhode Island legislators are considering a bill this session that would tax and regulate marijuana like alcohol.
$134.6 million: The amount of estimated tax revenue Maryland would earn every year if it legalized and regulated marijuana, according to a 2014 estimate from the Maryland Department of Legislative Services. Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley signed a law legalizing medical marijuana on April 14, and state lawmakers are considering a bill this session to legalize weed for recreational purposes, too.
$17.4 billion: The estimated total amount that marijuana prohibition costs state and federal governments every year, according to a 2010 study by Harvard University economist Jeffrey Miron.