For financial proof of what marijuana legalization can do to boost a state’s coffers, look no further than Nevada. The state’s incipient legal marijuana program has generated more than $30 million in tax revenue in its first six months. Nevada has reported almost $11 million in wholesale tax and $19.5 million in retail tax, according to the Nevada Patch.
Another interesting nugget: Legal marijuana sales exceeded more than $1 million a day on average. Nevada’s legal marijuana sales have already passed Colorado’s, despite how much longer the latter state has enjoyed legal marijuana. A major contributing factor of Nevada’s success can be explained by the friendly tourist environment found in Las Vegas.
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In fact, the city made trending news recently as marijuana “drop boxes” were installed at Las Vegas’ McCarran International Airport for tourists with leftover marijuana. Nevada’s legal marijuana market is expected to be worth $622 million by 2020, according to Forbes.
Those numbers have made some states’ officials revisit their position on legalizing marijuana.
All of that tax revenue has caused some cash-strapped states to consider legalizing marijuana. The potential of legal cannabis to help balance the budget has been key to the legalization debate in Connecticut. While state Governor Dannel Malloy has been an opponent to legalizing cannabis, he included the possibility of recreational legalization as an option to consider for balancing the budget.
While legalizing marijuana for tax revenue purposes instead of weighing how its criminal status adversely affects citizens may be a cynical view, the evidence is there. Marijuana money is there, if politicians are willing to listen.