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.