Marijuana Tax Revenue May Top $3 Billion A Year With Legalization

Money may not grow on trees, but it apparently does grow on marijuana plants. If all 50 states legalized cannabis today, they’d be collectively raking in more than $3 billion a year in taxes.

That’s according to NerdWallet, a personal finance site, which forecasts a total $3.1 billion annual windfall for state governments that legalize the popular plant.

California would gain the most from legalization. NerdWallet projects the Golden State would generate more than $519 million per year, which the website points out would almost fund the entire 2013 budget for California’s Department of Parks and Recreation. New York would be second, with $248 million, NerdWallet said. Seven additional states would bring in $100 million or more from legalization, and 25 others would stand to make at least $20 million per year.

NerdWallet’s estimate assumed a flat, 15 percent excise tax on marijuana — the same as Colorado’s excise tax on recreational marijuana sales. NerdWallet added state and local sales taxes to that figure.