The Presidential election wasn’t the only vote in November 2016–several key states also voted on the fate of marijuana laws. Taking a leaf out of Colorado or Washington’s book, four states—California, Nevada, Massachusetts and Maine—decided to make marijuana consumption for recreational purposes legal. Florida, Arkansas and North Dakota voted to allow medical marijuana while Arizona defeated that move. The economic benefits of legalizing weed could mean a big push for state economies and big bucks for both the state and the federal governments.
Better than expected sales of marijuana in Colorado and Washington over the past year have resulted in buoyant tax revenues. In 2015, Colorado collected more than $135 million in taxes and fee on medical and recreational marijuana. Sales in the state totaled over $996 billion. Sales in North America grew 30%, to $6.7 billion, in 2016, and is projected to increase to $20.1 billion by 2021, according to Arcview Market Research.
That is the carrot that dangled before many states. California, which is much larger in size and population than Colorado, could exceed $15 billion in sales revenue and $3 billion in tax revenue, according to an April 2016 study by ICF International. A special senate committee in Massachusetts estimated tax revenues from marijuana sales in the range of $50-60 million. (See also: What Will Jeff Sessions Mean for the Marijuana Industry?)
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