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Legalized Marijuana Could Be An Economic Boon
Facing a newly enshrined tax system that will generate a trillion dollar annual deficit, the federal government could certainly benefit from new revenue streams. According to a report from The Washington Post, legalizing marijuana could be one option to infuse a fresh flow of cash into the treasury.
Legal weed has already been extremely profitable for Colorado and Washington. California is now looking to get into the mix and could potentially represent the most vibrant and lucrative marijuana economy in the world before long. That sort of cash influx, not to mention the number of jobs that could come with it, isn’t just limited to the states. The federal government would stand to benefit greatly under legalization.
The analysis shows that if marijuana were fully legal in all 50 states, it would create at least a combined $131.8 billion in in federal tax revenue between 2017 and 2025. That is based on an estimated 15 percent retail sales tax, payroll tax deductions and business tax revenue.
The federal government would reap $51.7 billion in sales tax from a legal marijuana market between 2017 and 2025, entirely new revenue for a business that remains illegal — and unable to be taxed — federally.
The Trump administration, however, seems to have taken an adverse position to marijuana. Attorney General Jeff Sessions recently rescinded an Obama-era Justice Department memo that advocated a “hands-off” approach to enforcement of federal law regarding the plant. That guidance gave large latitude to states to determine for themselves whether or not they would allow marijuana to be grown and sold.
U.S. attorneys in several states with legal pot have indicated they won’t change their current course in terms of enforcement. And according to this economic analysis, it would make sense for the federal government to take the similar position nationwide. There are efforts underway to have marijuana removed from the list of Schedule 1 drugs, which would then pave the way for it to be regulated for sale and cultivation.