CA Marijuana Init Worth Hundreds of Millions Yearly, State Analysts Say

A California Legislative Analyst's Office report released Tuesday estimates that if Proposition 19, the Tax and Regulate Cannabis marijuana legalization initiative, were to be passed by voters, it could generate "hundreds of millions of dollars a year" in tax revenues in state sales taxes and taxes imposed by counties and municipalities that allowed for taxed and regulated sales and cultivation. Passage of the measure would also lead to reduced costs in state and local law enforcement, courts, and corrections, while not endangering public safety, the report said.

The Legislative Analyst's Office is a non-partisan state agency. Its job is to provide fiscal and policy advice to the state legislature.

The "hundreds of millions of dollars a year" estimate is roughly in line with, although lower than, the State Board of Equalization's estimate that marijuana legalization could bring $1.4 billion a year in taxes and fees in the state. That estimate was based not on Proposition 19, but on an Assembly bill introduced by Tom Ammiano (D-San Francisco) that would have allowed for direct state taxation of marijuana. Under Prop 19, only cities and counties would have the ability to tax and regulate marijuana sales and cultivation -- although the state could, of course, collect a sales tax on anything sold in the state.

"Proposition 19 allows local governments to authorize, regulate, and tax various commercial marijuana-related activities," the report noted. "As discussed below, the state also could authorize, regulate, and tax such activities... we estimate that the state and local governments could eventually collect hundreds of millions of dollars annually in additional revenues."

The report warned, however, that firm estimates were hard to come by because of uncertainties, particularly those surrounding how the federal government would respond to California cities or counties moving forward to tax and regulate recreational marijuana sales.

With California laying off and furloughing state workers, and with California cities and counties doing the same with teachers, firefighters, and police officers because of ongoing budget crises, the Legislative Analyst's Office report is bound to become ammunition for Prop 19 supporters.

Permission to Reprint: This article is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license.
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YES on California Proposition 19

There are so many reasons to support California Proposition 19 that we sometime forget some of them. A YES vote on Prop 19 will have the following benefits:

  • Reduce violence and crime
  • Reduce racially biased arrests
  • Generate $1.2B to $1.4B in taxes
  • Create 60,000 to 110,000 jobs
  • Reduce police corruption
  • Increase respect for police and the law
  • Free police to focus on property and violent crimes
  • Reduce prison costs and prison overcrowding
  • Expand California economy by $16 to $23 billion
  • Reduce drug cartels’ revenue
  • Reduce environmental damage from illegal grows
  • Allow adults to choose a safer alternative to alcohol

To read the studies documenting these outcomes, and to learn more about Prop 19, please visit yes19.org

What if marijuana

What if marijuana legalization could lead to a sudden drastic reduction in the sales and use of tobackgo $igarettes in California (and increasingly elsewhere too)?

1. Californians should do the math and figure out how much California money now leaves the state each year into the coffers of tobacco growers, $igarette manufacturers etc. in Narcolina and elsewhere.

2. Then, how much would be saved on the huge medical costs of $igarette addiction? If the use of one-hitter and vaporizer spreads over from the cannabis user population into the tobackgo user population, millions of nigotine addicts could continue using tobackgo but only a fraction as much of it, vaporized rather than burned, escaping the $igarette health damage now popularly attributed to tobackgo itself.

3. Note that $igarette addiction is over 30% among high school dropouts but under 10% among doctorate holders, i.e. those citizens with least educational advantages are the most hooked, and being economically weakest, cost the state most in medical assistance in later life when you'll have to treat them even if you think they are guilty for smoking so many $igarettes.

Yes, one problem is that the state is hooked on the revenues it gets from $igarette tax money and bureaucrats whose jobs depend on them may take some persuading that this trade-off will be favorable. This is similar to the prison guards whose jobs depend on cannabis arrests

Flaw in "tax and regulate"

You are right. The fatal flaw in "tax and regulate" is thinking that by making it more palatable to the State and generating more revenues for it, it will be easy to get legislation passed.

We have an addiction problem. We are addicted to the State and the State is addicted to our money and regulation of our interests while protecting the interests of those that feed it. The alcohol and cigarette industries are feeders. They really don't want the competition.

A less threatening model is the removal of the money angle and a general recognition among the public that the State is not serving their interests and that it is too bloated and too big. With this recognition comes the realization that the State does not need more money it needs less. It doesn't need to be fed it needs to be starved. This is why Libertarians are making inroads. The truth is getting too hard to hide.

If just a small percentage walks away from "the State is our salvation" model needed change will finally come. We're almost there.

RE: Flaw in "tax and regulate"

Sad but true. Give them tax money from our drugs and they take the money to "supervise" society; or to bust people for possessing, or using drugs and seize their assets so they can divy up the spoils amomgst themselves.

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