The U.S. BEA reports that real GDP by state increased only 2.5% in 2012.
Some states are eyeing the marijuana industry as a source of new funds, despite federal laws against marijuana possession. In November, Colorado voters may decide whether to legalize the possession and sale of small quantities of cannabis. Already, the state collects $60 million a year in taxes on the production and sale of medical pot. Medical marijuana contributes a $100 million a year to state and local coffers in California. All told, 16 states plus D.C. collect taxes and fees on pot prescribed by physicians.
Full legalization could generate $15 billion to $25 billion a year for states. California alone estimates potential revenue from industry taxes and fees at $1 billion. After Colorado, the states most likely to head down the legalization path: Oregon and Vermont.
As budget woes persist, more states will find it tough to resist the temptation. And infrequent raids by the feds won’t do much to halt the legalization trend.
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