Arizona Could Gain $64 Million in Legal Marijuana Taxes

110515_Arizona Could Gain $64 Million in Legal Marijuana Taxes 

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As much as $64 million in tax revenue can be generated out of recreational marijuana if Arizona decides to legalize it.

These are the findings of Grand Canyon Institute (GCI), an Arizona nonprofit that recently conducted an independent analysis on the amount of tax revenue that the state might get from cannabis legalization. Around $51 million are set to go to K-12 education and all-day kindergarten programs in Arizona.

“The revenue gains do exceed the $40 million espoused by proponents of the initiative,” reported GCI, pertaining to earlier conservative estimates of education backers of the ballot initiative. The GCI report also said that if the ballot measure were to pass, the state would be able to raise $72 million annually by 2019, with $58 million allotted for education alone.

Marijuana advocates were thrilled with the results. “You can debate whether marijuana should be made legal for adults, but there’s no arguing the fact that this initiative will generate significant revenue for Arizona schools,” said JP Holyoak, chairman of the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol. “It might not be enough to solve all of our schools’ budget problems, but it will help immensely.”

Patterned after Colorado’s recreational marijuana legalization and regulatory framework, Arizona’s Regulation and Taxation of Marijuana Act would allow Arizona residents aged 21 and up to possess of up to one ounce of marijuana and grow up to six plants for personal use. Retail marijuana shops can sell cannabis to adults and will have a 15 percent excise tax on sales. The revenue generated from these taxes will help fund the implementation and enforcement of state regulations, but 40 percent will go to education.

Since May, advocates have been collecting signatures to help the proposal qualify for the November 2016 ballot. It now has more than 60,000 signatures.

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