The state of Washington raked in over $70 million in marijuana tax revenue during the first year of legalization, according to a report issued by the Washington State Liquor Control Board.
The tax collected on over $257 million in legal marijuana sales was nearly double the $36 million experts had predicted for the first year since Washington became the second state, after Colorado, to legalize and tax recreational marijuana. Two additional states, Oregon and Alaska—plus the District of Columbia—have since legalized recreational weed, but are yet to release any information on their marijuana tax revenue.
Combined with other reported benefits seen since legalization, include a significant decrease in crime statistics (both violent and non-violent), lower policing and court costs, and increased employment and investment, these numbers are sure to weigh on voters and politicians alike as they consider increased pot legalization in the future.
In a statement to The Huffington Post, marijuana advocate Tom Angell of Marijuana Majority said, “While this amount of money isn’t nearly enough to run a whole state with, these are real dollars that can now be spent on things like schools, healthcare and road repair instead of going straight into the pockets of the drug dealers who controlled the marijuana market prior to legalization.”
Angell added, “And this is only the first year. Expect to see even more revenue generated — and more jobs created — in the next few years.”