Marijuana is big business in California. How big? According to a recently released report, California’s 2013 marijuana harvests were worth 31 billion dollars. Yes, that’s billion, with a B. This number is of course an estimate and not an exact figure due to the fact that California’s marijuana industry is hard to pin down. The true number could be a bit off of that number, or could be even larger than that number. Regardless of how exact the number is, one thing is for sure – California’s marijuana industry is enormous.
Imagine if the industry didn’t operate in the shadows, and was allowed to operate above-board. How much tax revenue would that generate for the State of California? According to California NORML, taxes from legalized marijuana sales in California could generate upwards of 2.5 billion dollars for the State. Anyone who has ever traveled to California or lives in California knows firsthand just how bad the State of California needs revenue right now.
California was the first state to vote on marijuana legalization during the 2010 Election. Unfortunately, that initiative was voted down. However, it was the first time any state had ever run a campaign to legalize marijuana, and I think the campaign did a commendable job navigating the uncharted territory. California, and other states, learned a lot from that campaign.
I’m confident that California will have another opportunity to vote on marijuana legalization, this time during the 2016 Election. It’s a presidential election year, which worked very well for Colorado and Washington during the 2012 Election. I wish the same was true for Oregon, which also voted on marijuana legalization during the 2012 Election. However, unfortunately, the campaign in Oregon was grossly underfunded. A successful California campaign in 2016 will need more money than all three of the 2012 campaigns combined, which I’m hoping won’t be an issue.