The line down at the neighborhood gas station down the street is a little longer than it used to be. All the filling stations are occupied with people pumping gas into their cars and the inside is bustling with patrons grabbing energy drinks, candy bars, chips, scratcher tickets and rolling papers. This little store has become the place to be after scoring some weed from the dispensary located right around the corner. No more asking a friend of a friend for recommendations or making the re-up phone call. Need some tasty sativa? No problem. Prefer a dank indica? Simply head to a dispensary and say the word. Just ask the man behind the counter for any of the clearly-labeled, quarter-ounce bags full of classics like Girl Scout Cookies, Sour Diesel or Blue Dream and then enjoy.
If cannabis were fully legalized in every state, scenes like the ones described above would be happening around the globe; not just in pot paradises like Colorado. Marijuana would be readily available in safe, convenient locations where people felt comfortable purchasing their favorite plants and residents could reap the benefits that accompany a robust increase in revenue for their state.
A new study conducted by Nerd Wallet estimates that the United States could more than $3 billion in state and local tax revenue each year if cannabis was legalized nationwide. The group used statistics from Substance Abuse and Health Services Administration to see how many adults over the age of 25 were smoking cannabis in each state. After some calculations (which are explained in detail on the site), Nerd Wallet was able to estimate how much revenue each state could potentially make in sales and taxes if cannabis was legalized for adult use.
States including Texas, Florida, Michigan and New York would be high-earning places but California would take the cake, potentially earning an estimated $519 million in just one year of legal sales. Colorado is already well on its way to earning $78 million in sales and taxes by June of next year. Wyoming, South Dakota and North Dakota are the lowest-earning states with potential revenue below $10 million.
Later this year in November, Alaska, Oregon and Washington, D.C. will have the opportunity to vote on full cannabis legalization for adults. D.C. could make more than $8 million, Alaska could earn over $11 million in sales and tax revenue and Oregon could earn more than $54 million in one year of sales.
Do you think your state should legalize cannabis? Tell us what you think.