“Legalizing marijuana for adults has been a wise investment,” authors conclude. “Since 2014, when sales began in Colorado and Washington, legalization policies have provided states a new revenue stream to bolster budgets and fund important services and programs. As of May 2021, states reported a combined total of $7.9 billion in tax revenue from legal, adult-use marijuana sales. In addition to revenue generated for statewide budgets, cities and towns have also generated hundreds of thousands of dollars in new revenue from local adult-use cannabis taxes.”
The report compiled tax revenues from Alaska, California, Colorado, Illinois, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington. Retail sales in other legal states have yet to begin. In every state for which there is data, estimate tax revenues have risen year-over-year following legalization.
These revenues have gone to fund various state-specific projects. In Colorado, for instance, over $400 million in revenue has been directed toward public schools. In Washington, a significant portion of revenue is directed into public health initiatives, including a fund that provides health insurance for low-income families. In Oregon, nearly half of the tax revenue collected is also earmarked for public education.
The full text of the report is available online here.