Andrew Freedman, a Colorado official says pot taxes hasn’t made The Centennial State as much money as some people might think.
Freedman was in Rhode Island today talking with lawmakers and activists who are exploring the idea of legalization. He talked about the impact marijuana laws have had on Colorado.
Probably the most important thing he talked about was marijuana taxes.
According to Freedman, Colorado made somewhere around $100 million in marijuana taxes last year. And while this sounds like a lot of money, he said it actually hasn’t made a very big impact on the state’s economy.
That’s because the state’s overall budget is $27 billion. When compared to that number, $100 million isn’t really all that much. On top of that, Freedman said that nearly 40 percent of those taxes went back into regulating the legal marijuana market.
The final result was that not very much of it ever actually found its way into public projects.
“Don’t expect to pay teachers, don’t expect to pave roads, don’t expect healthcare costs to come down because of marijuana regulation,” he said.
Freedman’s comments seem to debunk the idea that marijuana legalization is a good way for governments to find a lot of additional funds.
Along with talking about taxes, Freedman also said that legalizing marijuana hasn’t really changed the numbers of people who use the drug.
“It’s generally people who were using marijuana in the unregulated system who’ll be the opening people who use it in the regulated system,” he told reporters.
In particular, he said there hasn’t been an increase in the number of young people who use marijuana.
For people in favor in legalization this could be good news. That’s because one of the most common arguments made by those in the anti-marijuana camp is that legalizing will put teenagers at risk.
Another common argument against legalizing is that it will contribute to violence and crime.
But Freedman said those concerns have not come true in Colorado either.
There are currently 23 states that have legalized medical marijuana. Colorado, Washington, Oregon, and Alaska have also legalized recreational marijuana.
And Rhode Island isn’t the only state thinking about joining that list. Lawmakers in Vermont are currently working on a bill that could legalize recreational marijuana.
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