Colorado Becomes First State in History to Collect More Taxes From Pot Than Alcohol
Colorado has officially become the first state to collect more taxes from pot than they have from the sale of alcohol. Marijuana sales brought in a staggering $70 million in revenue, while alcohol totaled only $42 million.
The additional stream of revenue has provided the state with a budget surplus of $257 million, most of which will be spent on the state’s public schools.
Occupy Democrats reports:
It’s been so successful that the state has declared a tax holiday on marijuana products. “Marijuana taxes have been incredibly productive over the past year, so this tax holiday is a much-deserved day off,” says Mason Tvert, director of communications for the Marijuana Policy Project. “This will be the one day out of the year when the state won’t generate significant revenue. Over the other 364 days, it will bring in tens of millions of dollars that will be reinvested in our state.”
Marijuana users tend to smoke habitually and are willing to spend far more on their vice of choice than alcohol or tobacco users- on average, $1800 a year. Tvert remarked that it was “crazy how much revenue our state used to flush down the drain by forcing marijuana sales into the underground market. It’s even crazier that so many states are still doing it. Tax revenue is just one of many good reasons to replace marijuana prohibition with a system of regulation.
The findings are a vindication for marijuana activists and convincing evidence that the benefits of legalizing the drug far outweigh the cons. Lifting the burden of dealing with minor drug offenses from both users and law enforcement would be a great boon for both groups, and would start alleviating some of the devastating effects of the failed “War On Drugs”, which disproportionately fall on African Americans- who are three times more likely to be arrested for marijuana possession than whites. Enforcing marijuana laws also costs our nation $3.6 billion dollars a year, for little to no results. It’s far past time we stopped wasting our time on busting pot-smoking teenagers and focus on the real problems affecting this country.
Photo credit: The Smoking Bud.