California is collecting between $50 million and $100 million a year in sales taxes from medical marijuana, according to the California Board of Equalization, confirming an estimate previously published in an economic analysis by California NORML.
The numbers were also independently confirmed by patient advocacy group Americans for Safe Access.
The state’s retail market for medical marijuana has surpassed $1 billion per year, according to California NORML estimates, with a total adult use market of $6 billion.
An initiative to legalize and tax cannabis for adult use will be on this November’s ballot in the Golden State.
Marijuana opponents, led by Los Angeles County District Attorney Steve Cooley, have tried to choke off the state’s lucrative medical marijuana market by claiming that all marijuana sales are illegal.
The stand stands to lose tens of millions of dollars in sales tax revenues and millions more in enforcement costs if Southern California’s dispensaries are closed, according to Cal NORML Director Dale Gieringer.
“Marijuana prohibition is a losing proposition for California’s taxpayers,” Gieringer said. “On one hand it costs the state to arrest, prosecute, and imprison marijuana offenders, and on the other it deprives the state of valuable tax revenues.”
Adult use legalization could net the state some $1.4 billion in revenues, according to California’s Legislative Analyst’s Office, or more than $1.2 billion by California NORML’s estimate.