California's very own State Board of Equalization reports in its legislative bill analysis that revenues from a bill similar to the Tax Cannabis Act would equal roughly $1.4 billion.
With California's budget in crisis mode, the Tax Cannabis Act could be a welcome boon with schools, families, and communities reeling from cuts that hardly dent the colossal budget gap.
Over at FireDogLake, Jon Walker has a long list of things California could afford with all that extra revenue. The list includes among other things, hiring 23,000 teachers, police, or firefighters; providing health insurance to one million children; or providing maximum unemployment benefits for a full year to 59,000 Californians.
While I hate to rain on the spending parade, California could also just pay off some of its massive debt, and use the added revenue as a way out of a crisis- a cushion to help ease the transition to a more responsible fiscal policy. The Tax Cannabis Act could be California's ticket out of a vicious cycle of debt-funded spending.
With Californians evenly split on the issue of cannabis legalization, this figure could be welcome news for the tax cannabis movement, especially considering the typical trend of California ballot propositions to lose momentum and support over time. The State Board of Equalization's report that California has $1.4 billion to gain, could be enough to tip the scales of public opinion in favor legalizing and taxing cannabis this November.
It's also worth mentioning that the state will see a financial boost that goes above and beyond the possible $1.4 billion in tax revenues from the legal sale of marijuana. The new jobs and economic growth of an entire industry will increase the broader tax base, and thereby boost revenues.
Dollars that presently make their way back to Mexico will end up staying (and being spent in) California, boosting sales for (and tax revenues from) other non-cannabis-related businesses in California, growing the tax base even more, while providing relief to businesses struggling in an economic downturn.
Then there are the state's expense accounts to consider. The untold millions of dollars California spends on police activity, drug interdiction, litigation, and incarceration would be spared from the budget, netting the state even more financial benefits if the Tax Cannabis Act is passed in November.
While moral, safety, and health issues hang in the balance, with $1.4 billion or more to gain, the tax cannabis movement just might have made California an offer that is too good to refuse.