Study: Feds and State Governments Missing out on Billions in Pot Revenue

While certain facts should be obvious, sometimes we need a think tank study to really drive home a point.

An 80-year old tax policy research organization, the Tax Foundation, concluded that the federal government—and most states—are denying themselves large chunks of yearly tax revenue by not legalizing pot.

The bulk of that handsome sum—$20.5 billion of it—would accumulate for states through taxes collected on pot sales, general sales, as well as $7 billion in income and payroll taxes from workers in the industry.

Published in the Washington Post, the study also pointed out that if pot were to end up being taxed like tobacco, which we hope doesn’t happen, the IRS could snatch another half billion annually in excise taxes.

Based on a “mature marijuana industry” and the assumption that the market will produce $45 billion in annual sales, the study is on the mark. Pot is the fastest growing industry in the United States.

As it stands—with just four legal states and 24 medical states—legal pot sales soared to $5.4 billion in 2015, up 17 percent from 2014, according to ArcView Group.

Sure, states can and may decide to tax their pot industry differently. But $28 billion dollars, while a drop in the budget bucket, is nothing to sneeze at.

Something the tax analysis did not look at was how much money could be saved across the country by not having to enforce marijuana laws, such as a half-billion dollars a year in simple pot arrests.

Not to mention saving the billions spent annually on prosecuting people who sell pot and paying for their often ridiculously long jail sentences, the vast majority of which are being served by people of color.

An ACLU report points out that while pot use is roughly equal among Blacks and whites, Blacks are nearly four times more likely to be arrested for possession.

So, with elections coming up this November, let’s all insist that our wannabe representatives consider the data from this old-fashioned research organization and choose to save money, save lives and enjoy safe, legal pot.

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