Cannabis Legalization Should Be About More Than Tax Revenue

Article by The Leaf News

Cannabis legalization should be about more than tax revenue California Marijuana Taxes So far, the sale of legal marijuana in California isn't bringing in as much of the green stuff as initially predicted. (Mathew Sumner / The Associated Press Files) FILE - In this Monday, Jan. 1, 2018 file photo, a customer purchases marijuana at the Harborside marijuana dispensary in Oakland, Calif., on the first day that recreational marijuana was sold legally in California. So far, the sale of legal marijuana in California isn't bringing in the green stuff. But estimates released Tuesday, May 8, 2018, by the state Legislative Analyst's Office show just $34 million came in between January and March 2018. (AP Photo/Mathew Sumner, File)

For people with no interest in cannabis, the best reason to legalize weed often seems to be the prospect of new government tax revenue. (This is doubly true for the politicians who actually make decisions about legalization.)

But the latest news from California serves as a reminder that we might be better off looking beyond the money to the other potential benefits of legalization.

The Golden State expected to reap US$185 million in cannabis taxes in the first six months of the year; instead they saw a mere $82 million.

The multimillion-dollar shortfall is being attributed to the continued proliferation of the black market, high tax rates on cannabis businesses, and the fact that many jurisdictions don’t allow legal cannabis businesses to operate at all.

California may eventually work out those kinks and start capturing more marijuana tax revenue over time, but perhaps the real problem here isn’t that initial revenue didn’t meet California’s expectations — instead, it’s that California had those lofty revenue expectations in the first place.

Canada’s federal legalization task force warned against making legalization about the money, stating “revenue generation should be a secondary consideration for all governments, with the protection and promotion of public health and safety as the primary goals.”

Read the full article here.

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