Marijuana Revenue: $35 billion

Could the nation collect $35 billion in marijuana revenue?  Drug policy expert Mark Kleiman says:

“Producing [a year’s supply of]  cannabis and distributing on the legal market might cost you $5 billion — but only if you did it clumsily.

. . .

“I don’t know what it would cost to run those dozen farms [needed to produce a year’s supply] but not a lot of money. Then you’d have to cure it and process it and test it and package it and label and distribute it and market it. Still, a couple billion dollars. The rest of the $40 billion plus whatever the spending is by the new users is available as tax.”

Tax collections (or monopoly profits) of $35 billion ($40 billion less $5 billion) reflect just the current market —  no new use.  But collecting that large amount requires political will, national uniformity, wholesale conversion of the medical marijuana market to taxed recreational use (as Ethan Nadelmann predicts), and a determined effort to beat the black market.

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Author: patoglesby

From 1982 to 1990, I worked in tax policy for Committees of the United States Congress. In recent years, I was Adjunct Lecturer at UNC-Chapel Hill's Business School and then Adjunct Professor at its Law School.

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