Tax and Regulate Cannabis


The map depicts states in which marijuana is legal for adults and tax & regulated similarly to alcohol. Source: MARIJUANA POLICY PROJECT

“Tax and Regulate” refers to the terms and conditions under which the legalization of cannabis is established at the state level. In 2012, Colorado and Washington became the first two states to legalize the possession of cannabis in the United States. Oregon, Alaska, and Washington D.C. took similar action in the 2014 mid-term election as did California, Maine, Massachusetts, and Nevada via ballot initiatives in November 2017.

Taxation and regulation brings the marijuana industry into the legal economy, creating formal jobs and economic growth. Out of this growth comes new tax revenue. In the last fiscal year, Colorado received $130 million from marijuana sales tax, far exceeding the amount received from alcohol sales.

The regulation of marijuana establishes standards for its production, manufacturing, and distribution. It protects consumers from tainted supplies and gives them important information about potency and dosage. Regulation can also establish protective ecological measures for cannabis production, mitigating the adverse environmental impacts of illegal marijuana growth operations.

The next step is for states to move to tax and regulate by legislative action rather than a ballot initiative. In Vermont, both the House and Senate have voted to legalize marijuana and establish a commission to develop a regulated system in 2018; the bill awaits action by the Governor. There is strong legislative support for legalization bills in Rhode Island and Connecticut. Similar measures are possible in Illinois and Delaware next year.

Questions about the legalization, taxation, and regulation of marijuana? Check out our War on Drugs FAQs or contact us!

Tax and Regulate In the News 

Vermont Governor Signs Marijuana Legalization Bill
The Hill – January 22, 2018

Impact of Marijuana: Denver Needs More Data
The Gazette – December 26, 2017

Main Lawmakers Work to Finalize Pot Legalization – December 24, 2017

Pot Laws Smouldering Discontent 
Toronto Sun – December 23, 2017

Recreational Marijuana in California
The Verge – December 22, 2017

Oregon Senator Co-Sponsors Marijuana Legalization
Civilized – December 22, 2017

Analysis: How Vermont could change the marijuana legalization game
Washington Post – March 30, 2016

Legal marijuana is finally doing what the drug war couldn’t
Washington Post – March 3, 2016

Marijuana Legalization 2016: Which States Will Consider Cannabis This Year?
International Business Times – December 30, 2015

The Case for Marijuana Legalization Just Got Stronger
Washington Post – December 16, 2015

Is Smoking Weed a Human Right?
The Atlantic – November 9, 2015

The Push for Legal Marijuana Spreads
New York Times – November 5, 2015

Facts and Figures: Majority of Americans Support Legal Marijuana
New York Times – October 21, 2015


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