Cannabis

A new analysis pegs the state’s potential tax revenue from legalized marijuana at approximately $82 million per year.

Jessica Bartlett
Reporter- Boston Business Journal

Massachusetts could generate $81.5 million in new annual revenue from sales and excise taxes if the state legalizes marijuana, according to a new report by a consumer-research provider.

The findings were published by NerdWallet, which analyzed the potential tax receipts from recreational and medical marijuana sales in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

The report comes as Massachusetts officials debate the particulars on legalized medical marijuana sales in the state, and follows recent efforts in Colorado and Washington to legalize the recreational sale and use of the drug. Alaska, Florida, Oregon, and Washington, D.C., will each vote on legalization on Nov. 4.

“This is a hypothetical,” said Divya Raghavan, a senior analyst at NerdWallet. “Everyone knows that legalization of marijuana leads to increased revenue. We were trying to put a number on it so voters could make more informed decisions.”

The findings were based on existing tax rates as well as a variety of factors ranging from each state’s population to the number of in-state smokers to Harvard University estimates putting the total value of the U.S. marijuana market at approximately $14 billion.

The estimated 288,889 marijuana smokers in Massachusetts would generate total pot sales of approximately $383.7 million and annual tax revenue of around $81.5 million.

“That’s (the tax estimate) actually a third of the state budget for community colleges for the 2015 fiscal budget,” Raghaven said.

In California, medical marijuana generates approximately $105 million in annual tax revenue. Complete legalization of the drug would bring in an additional $414 million annually, Raghaven said.

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