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The California Department of Finance has released a report finding that the legalization of cannabis there could bring in a yearly revenue of $1 billion, Marijuana.com reports.

California’s debt is currently estimated to be around $443 billion. In light of the difficulties facing the state, Michael Cohen, the head of the Department of Finance, along with legislative analyst Mac Taylor, told Attorney General Kamala Harris about the money California stands to make from marijuana legalization.

“In total, our best estimate is that the state and local governments could eventually collect net additional revenues that could range from the high hundreds of millions of dollars to over $1 billion annually,” reads the report.

The report is based on a 15% excise tax on cannabis $9.25 per ounce cultivation tax, and a $2.75 tax on excess plant material.

The $1 billion figure is subject to a number of variables, including potential county-wide bans on marijuana sales, as well as any future federal response to marijuana legalization.

In order to cash in on the projected revenue, California voters need to pass the Adult Use of Marijuana Act (AUMA), according to which revenue would be spent in the following ways:

  • $10 million annually from 2018-19 through 2028-29 to public universities in California to research and evaluate the implementation of the measure.

  • $3 million annually from 2018-19 through 2022-23 to the California Highway Patrol (CHP) to establish and adopt protocols to determine whether a driver is operating a vehicle while impaired, including by marijuana.

  • $10 million in 2018-19, increasing by $10 million annually until 2022-23, and $50 million each year thereafter, to the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development for a grant program to provide services (such as mental health and substance use treatment) in communities disproportionately affected by past federal and state drug policies.

  • $2 million annually to the University of California San Diego Center for Medicinal Cannabis Research to study the efficacy and adverse effects of the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes.

Photo Credit: Insanity Strains

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