There have been a few economic projections for tax venue generation if/when Oregon legalizes marijuana this November during the 2014 Election. I have seen numbers as low as $15 million, and until recently, as high as $40 million dollars. There is a lot of debate by activists and pundits as far as how much will actually be brought in. An estimate released by Oregon State University has the highest projection I’ve seen so far. Per Oregon State University:
If marijuana is legalized in Oregon, the state could net anywhere from $35 million to $105 million in new tax revenue per year, Crawford estimated in research published earlier this year in the Humboldt Journal of Social Relations.
Any additional expenses generated from legalizing marijuana would be small in comparison to money generated from the taxes, Crawford believes. Police and court expenses would be lower if marijuana use was legalized, he pointed out.
“From a purely economic standpoint, it’s a net win for the state’s budget,” he said. “There are still going to be enforcement issues, but the costs are likely to be lower than what is spent on enforcement now.”
I have lived in Oregon my entire life. Marijuana legalization will be interesting in Oregon from an economic standpoint because so many people here have cultivation skills, and the climate and soil are of high quality. As a result, we will have to ultimately see how much tax revenue is generated as it’s being generated. Any estimates or projections have to be taken with a grain of salt. I don’t think Oregon will generate as much as Colorado, but with that being said, it will still be a huge sum of money that the State of Oregon doesn’t have now. Also, tax payer dollars will be re-directed away from enforcing failed marijuana prohibition and towards much better things, which in itself is well worth it.