California Cannabis Tax Revenues Soar as Industry Gets Going, But Black Market Still Dominates

Growth during the Pandemic. And the state sure needs the money.

By Wolf Richter for WOLF STREET.

The California Department of Tax and Fee Administration reported today that cannabis legalization and taxation in the state came in the nick of time. Just when the state is under extreme fiscal pressure, cannabis is pulling through: Cannabis tax revenues in the second quarter soared 32.6% from a year ago, to another record of $208.4 million (not including revenues collected by cities and counties). And this during the Pandemic!

Over the first two quarters combined, cannabis tax revenues, at $414 million, were up by 44% from the same period in 2019 and by 150% from the same period in 2018. This activity – not weed per se, which has always been a big popular business in the state, but the switch from black-market weed to regulated and taxed weed – has had a growth rate like hardly any other in the state at the moment:

Cannabis tax revenues come in three categories: Excise tax, cultivation tax, and sales tax. With a sales tax rate of 7.25% (state 6% and mandatory local 1.25%), and $83.7 million in sales taxes reported, we can figure that reported weed sales in the quarter amounted to $1.15 billion. Given the growth trends, those revenues will come close to $5 billion for the year 2020.

In addition, first quarter tax revenues were heavily revised up today, from $134.9 million to $205.9 million. We were advised in the Q1 report back in May that this would happen:

“Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, 1st Quarter 2020 is a unique reporting period since approximately half of the taxpayers normally reporting have yet to file a return with the CDTFA. Revisions to 1st Quarter 2020 data are expected in mid-August after the 2nd Quarter return filing due date of July 31.” And that’s what happened today.

California Proposition 64, approved by the voters on November 8, 2016, started the process of turning the production, distribution, sale, and use of recreational cannabis by adults into a legal business.

The regulations that followed were complex with all kinds of twists and turns. Three regulatory offices are in charge: The California Bureau of Cannabis Control in the Department of Consumer Affairs; the California Department of Food and Agriculture; and the California Department of Public Health. In addition, state-licensed facilities need to have the prior approval by city or county governments – and some have chosen to not approve such facilities. But at the state level, it all got worked out, and January 1, 2018, was the big day.

“Medical” marijuana has been legal for adults in California since 1996 and remains exempt from sales taxes for those willing to jump through some hoops at their county health department, including a $100 fee.

Under federal law cannabis – including THC and CBD – is still illegal, being a Schedule One substance under the US Controlled Substances Act. And those sets of state and federal laws live uneasily side-by-side, observing some kind of truce for most producers, distributors, vendors, and users, and there is no guarantee that the feds won’t swoop in to shake things up. But there seems to be an understanding that the feds would focus enforcement on criminal organizations.

And the black market continues to do its thing. There are no pesky regulations to observe, and no taxes to pay, neither for the pot imported, produced, distributed, and sold in California, nor on the income generated by those activities. And in cities and counties that haven’t approved state-licensed dispensaries, the black market is all there is.

For black-market participants, there are major legal risks, including getting arrested and having product confiscated.

In 2019, the California Bureau of Cannabis Control alone seized nearly 24 tons of illicit cannabis, valued at nearly $133 million. The federal Drug Enforcement Agency reported that in California in 2019, it seized 3.19 million plants that had been cultivated outdoors and indoors, “eradicated” nearly 2,000 outdoor and indoor grow sites, confiscated about 100 tons of processed bulk marijuana, and made 1,567 arrests.

Black-market weed sales in California amounted to $8.7 billion in 2019, according to estimates by BDS Analytics and Arcview Market Research, cited by the Sacramento Bee, far outdistancing the $3.1 billion in legal weed sales in 2019.

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  70 comments for “California Cannabis Tax Revenues Soar as Industry Gets Going, But Black Market Still Dominates

  1. Tyson Bryan says:

    BDS Analytics estimate for Calif translates to a global market of $350 billion, supported by a consumer base of 1/2 billion+ habituated users. The global coffee market is about $125 billion with 5 times as many habituated users.
    An oz of good pot trades for a barrel of oil just now. A kilo trades for an oz of gold.
    Trimmed pot is a perishable commodity with a half life of about 20 months. Chemically refined THC lasts much longer of course.
    90% of the value of cannabis derives from its statutory illegality. It is none the less, an absolutely essential industry in our current state of emergency.

    • 2banana says:

      I was in Afghanistan at the beginning of the war.

      A country so dirt poor that the locals stole/acquired empty plastic water bottles, half used soap and used brass casing from bullets.

      In the countryside along roads, farmers would stack bales upon bales of harvested marijuana, unguarded.

      No one would touch it. It had that little value.

    • nodecentrepublicansleft says:

      Florida will have to follow suit.

      FL has been decimated by Trump’s botched Covid-19 response. We had $40-90B/yr in tourism dollars, depending on what #s you believe. That’s essentially been flushed down the toilet.

      How else can we get an economic shot in the arm like this?

      • c1ue says:

        You clearly misread the data.
        Legal pot in Florida at the level of California, adjusted for population, would be a tiny fraction of the missing tourist dollars.
        Florida is about half of California; legalizing weed there means maybe $1.8 billion in sales. Only need to multiply this by more than 20x to get close to $40b.
        Note that illegal sales in CA still dominate the market – not just in dollar value but in percentage of weight consumed; the illegal stuff is a lot cheaper. I’ve seen estimates that 80% of consumption is still illegal; all the legal stuff is doing now is making it harder to stop the illegal stuff.

  2. Dan says:

    For many, the economy and their lives are going “up in smoke” so why not play along.

    Bad times lead to substance abuse, spousal abuse, child abuse, more alcoholism and more drug (ab)use as people try to escape from crushing debt, loss, and failure not of their own making.

    It’s so sad. We will look back on this as one of mass hysteria, led by our “leaders”, and the destruction of so many lives.

    • JoAnn Leichliter says:

      How to turn productive citizens into stoners: make them close their businesses, quit working, stay at home. End result: lots of lovely pot tax dollars–for now. Good luck with that scenario.

      • Arizona Slim says:

        A couple of decades ago, I was friends with a couple who grew marijuana on their back porch. Why? Because the husband had terminal cancer, and the pot was better for his chemotherapy-induced nausea than anything the cancer center prescribed.

        This was well before medical MJ was legal in this state.

        How did he get his seeds? He ordered them from other countries, and they were shipped in innocuous looking packages.

        Needless to say, the state wasn’t making a dime in tax revenue off of this arrangement.

        To recap what others have said before, pot is a weed. Isn’t that hard to grow on your own premises.

        • Zantetsu says:

          Arizona Slim, I researched that a while ago, out of curiosity. Pot that produces the expected and demanded modern potency *is* hard to grow. It takes an ungodly amount of light to thrive, you need something like 12 or 14 hours of direct strong sunlight per day. And you have to know and understand a good deal about how to care for the plant to give good yields.

          I don’t know, maybe weaker “traditional” pot is easier to grow. Or maybe everything I read was a lie meant to discourage home growing so that people would buy from dispensaries.

          I personally don’t use it so I admit to not having much direct experience here. I am just reiterating what I read when I read up on it out of curiosity.

      • nodecentrepublicansleft says:

        I hate to break the news to you, but lots of incredibly productive and highly successful people use pot. Why? For all the obvious reasons. God makes pot, man makes booze. Who do you trust?

        It doesn’t make you into a nasty jerk like booze does to so many people. I spent about 5-6 years as a bartender. Trust me when I say, you’d be much better of dealing w/somebody on pot vs. booze.

        Far less likely you’ll get punched in the face.

        • Phil says:

          I second that. When I worked as an emergency physician I always said I would rather have a mellowed out stoner that a belligerant drunk any time.

        • Buckaroo Banzai says:

          “Far less likely you’ll get punched in the face.”

          Obviously you aren’t familiar with how these incredibly powerful modern strains of weed affect personality and behavior after long-term use. You can recognize them pretty easily–they are glassy-eyed, doughy-looking, and generally with a ring of flab around the waist. They have difficulty managing their emotional state and can become explosively violent when agitated or confused. I guarantee you this is contributing to the general levels of psychotic violence being displayed by Antifa/BLM in these “peaceful” protests.

    • Lou Mannheim says:

      You should both give it a chance. Forget the propaganda, cannabis is non-addictive, and you can’t overdose. It makes you laugh, think, and yes, sometimes chill on the couch and watch cartoons (I’m a fan of Adult Swim). Food tastes better (that goes for healthy stuff – I’ve lost 20 pounds since I moved to a legal state), music sounds better. Just remember to never mix with alcohol – that’s where things can get messy.

      But from a business perspective this is the end of Prohibition for me – there are a ton of opportunities, which these days is something.

      • TimTim says:

        What are the favourite brands for those with the munchies these days? :)

      • Nick says:

        Sure “Lou” keep believing that. It’s a drug no matter how you slice it and modern pot is A LOT more potent than its ever been. Sex can be a drug, fishing gives you a quick high. Its basic psychology.

        • Lou Mannheim says:

          Nick – before prohibition, cannabis was sold legally in the US as cannabis. The federal government issued a medical study in 1938 (available on the web) that concluded there were no long-term effects and usage was not dangerous. That report was buried because we had a lot of Latin immigrants who consumed cannabis, only they referred to the plant as “marihuana.” So it was rebranded as such and made a Schedule 1 drug.

          That’s the abbreviated history of cannabis in the US, aside from the millions of black and Latino kids incarcerated for it.

          Yes, the THC content is higher now but guess what? It doesn’t matter really. Your body can only absorb so much before your endocannbinoid system blocks any more – so whether you are smoking 31% thc dispensary bud or 10% ditch weed, once you hit the limit that’s it.

          There is nothing to be scared of here – it has been consumed for millennia.

        • Lee says:

          Well as an aside for those that collect stamps the US issued stamps with ‘Marihuana Tax Act of 1937’ overprint in 1937.

          Congress used the “Marihuana Tax Act of 1937” to effectively make the drug illegal. Doctors and researchers could register and pay a tax of $1 to $24 for marijuana.

          However, recreational users were required to pay a $100 tax on every ounce of marijuana – or face five years in prison and a $2,000 fine for tax evasion.

          When the U.S. Supreme Court declared the Marijuana Tax law unconstitutional in 1969, there hadn’t been a single application by recreational users.

          Stamps were issued with a $1, $5, $10, and $100 overprints that I know of.

          A $100 face value ‘Marihuana’ Tax stamp will cost you anywhere from $700 – $1000, if you can find one. IIRC the US government sold off their remainders a while back.

      • 2banana says:

        I have friends who use recreational pot and have had no side effects.

        I have had others who turned into “pot heads” and basically turned from productive citizens into the doper life.

        So, basically like alcohol, you roll the dice.

      • Zantetsu says:

        My brain is not built for pot. It gives me major anxiety and I don’t like it. I’m glad other people enjoy it though and I have no problem with its usage.

      • Gordian knot says:

        Related to pain management it was a transfer of cost from insurance companies to you out of pocket. Those insurance companies know how to keep a bottom line and make you feel liberated at the same time.

      • nick kelly says:

        You can overdose. I’ve seen it several times when I was supplying the pot. It can’t harm you physically but especially persons new to it can have panic attacks.

        The last time this happened wasn’t like that. I had given some canna-butter to lady. Her teen- aged kid found it and and made brownies with it and then left. She comes home sees brownies and eats four.

        An hour later she phones and wants me to drive her to emergency. So that is an accident (neither kid or mother are bright) but I can give other examples, like where the amount was smoked by a newbie, was minimal and still had the host running to hide in the garage, making his wife burst into tears.

        Good pot is a powerful psycho-active substance that changes perception unlike alcohol that is just a mood changer. The old problem with newbies,especially with edibles,is that they keep consuming until they finally feel something, by which time they’ve had too much.

        Don’t get me wrong: most of the former DEA and RCMP scare stuff is BS, but you can have too much and seriously upset a newbie.

        PS: instead of black market could we possibly refer to the grey market?

      • Otto Maddox says:

        Yes in the positive cases, but not all cases are positive.

      • Crush the Peasants! says:

        Agree in general, but smokng anything is bad for you. By inhaling marijunana smoke you are engaging in personalized particle pollution. Wood smoke, diesel smoke, tobacco smoke, mariluana smoke all cotanin microparticles. I am not referring to lung cancer or carcinogens, necessarily, but small particles that occlude small blood vessels and lung microstructures. Even Willie Nelson had to stop for this reason. Much better to eat THC containing foods, and deal with the difference. And come out of the fog, occasionally, and purify.

        • VintageVNvet says:

          EXactly correct ctp,
          Eat only the exact daily doses,,, very very small amount, per recent research, , , in comparison to the waste from smoking, not to mention the clearly bad results of smoking anything, as you say.
          SHAME on US that actual science based research has not been done due to politics, reactionary fascism against minorities using this wonder drug, etc.
          And keep in mind that many many elders in times past used some kind of tea or other concoction of this wonder drug to ”keep on keeping on” into their old age in a time when that meant keeping the garden and the canning from it;; keeping the chickens and the eggs and fryers and broilers from them;; keeping the cow or goats, and the milk and cheeses from them…
          Who did you youngsters think was doing this for the past few hundred years, and more importantly, how do you think they did it without some kind of helpful pain relief???
          Just hoping you don’t have to add that to the general level of ignorance regarding planting and maintaining crops,,, and equal for all animal sources. Good Luck and God Bless ya all!!

    • Engin-ear says:

      There are two legal and reliable mind-state-altering substances available almost everywhere one the planet very cheaply:

      Coffee to boost yourself and Alcohol to relax.

      Everything else is the search for adventures.

  3. 2banana says:

    On July 17, 2014, Eric Garner died in the New York City borough of Staten Island after police were sent to arrest him for selling “loosies” or single cigarettes and not paying the NYC sales tax.

    And the same outcomes will come to blackmarket weed as taxes get higher and higher.

    “Cannabis tax revenues come in three categories: Excise tax, cultivation tax, and sales tax.”

    • nodecentrepublicansleft says:

      He died likely because of his skin color.

      The police are far more polite to white people for some odd reason….

      • Lee says:

        Is that why there are more white people being killed by police than any other racial designation?

        In 2017 there were 457 whites, 223 blacks, and 179 hispanics killed by police.

        In 2018 the numbers were: 399, 209, and 148 respectively.

        In 2019 there were 370, 235, and 158.

        And unarmed numbers are even lower, but again in 2019 there were 20 unarmed whites killed by police and 9 blacks.

        And before going off on your high horse, the total number of deaths by police has remained at around 1000 or so since 2015.

        Of the total deaths only 5% were women.

        • nick kelly says:

          Gee, all we have to do now is do the math for a per capita rate of those ethnic groups. There are more whites than blacks aren’t there?

        • Wolf Richter says:


          “In 2017 there were 457 whites, 223 blacks, and 179 hispanics killed by police.”

          Good lordy… 72% of the US population is white, 13% is African American. Meaning there are about 5.5 times as many whites as African Americans. If whites and African Americans got shot and killed by police at the same ratio to respective population, there would be 1,226 whites killed.

  4. Natty Smasher says:

    > With a sales tax rate of 7.25% (state 6% and mandatory local 1.25%), and $83.7 billion in sales taxes reported, we can figure that reported weed sales in the quarter amounted to $1.15 billion. Given the growth trends, those revenues will come close to $5 billion for the year 2020.

    I think you meant $83.7 million?

  5. Dan Romig says:

    Minnesota has a Democratic governor who has stated he would support legalizing cannabis. The House has a Democratic majority that supports it, but the Senate is GOP controlled, and against it.

    Growing cannabis in one’s home is illegal in Minnesota. Enjoying cannabis in the privacy of one’s home is illegal in Minnesota.

    Where do we draw the line between personal freedom and government control? Political paternalism has been in power before, just as it is today. Government uses its power to assure certain outcomes or forms of behavior desired by those who wield political authority.

    One hundred and one years ago, a Republican politician from Minnesota, with the consent of the 66th Congress of the United States of America, took away personal freedom. That politician’s name was Andrew Volstead.

    “O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.”

    California has more freedom than Minnesota I reckon.

    • Paulo says:

      Freedom to own assault weapons made to kill people, but not for growing or smoking some ditch weed. Pretty weird place.

      Pot and home cultivation is legal in Canada. I actually don’t like pot, but for shits and giggles I grew some in our greenhouses this year and am on track to produce some godawful amount of buds from my 5 Indica plants going on 10′ tall right now and 5′ across. I’ll probably just give it away for the most part, several pounds worth. Here, growers just toss the leaves away but my chickens seem to love them.

      Anyway, the point is that even though regulated pot stores are legal in Canada, the black market still is booming for BC Bud. Why? It’s easy and cheap to grow, and if you take out the taxes growers are still making darn good money for minimal effort and expense.

      I used to buy top quality grapes from all over N America and make wine. I loved making and drinking wine. It’s must 10X the work of growing pot and 1,000 times the expense. Same with making good beer. Regardless, with both home brew and home produced wine the Govt could care less. Why should pot be any different. Legalise it and just get out of the way. That will get the criminal element out of production and sales. With this taxation cow strategy we see who all the criminals are, imho.

  6. Danno says:

    In Canada being allowed to grow 4 personal plants for personal use but illegally able to sell (cough cough), the amount of black market weed is so plentiful, 70% can’t be sold.

    Only in the cities where people cannot grow as easy, is legal weed making any impact. And now, even more stores are opening weekly nationwide!

    That cash cow certainly turned up fairly dry for the government.

    • Lou Mannheim says:

      I think that’s behind the resistance in the US – it’s a plant and can be grown easily which means it might cut into alcohol tax revenues. All about the bucks.

  7. Just Some Random Guy says:

    So everyone is too broke to pay their rent magically have plenty of money for weed.

    • Happy1 says:


    • Augusto says:

      The government mandates you don’t have to pay your rent, but you are legally required to paid for taxed weed. Maybe landlords should advocate an excise tax on rent…then they would get their money, after the government of course.

    • VintageVNvet says:

      Just for you young folks jsrg: Old time lefty doper quotation, ” Dope can get ya over times with no money better than money can get you over times with no dope!” From the 50-60s era before the flower children, etc…
      But, all seriousness aside, what is missing from the report above is the harassment of long time growers in the ”Emerald Triangle” in NorCal by the feds when many of those growers went legal in compliance with state law.
      Happened to several friends of friends, etc., word spread quickly, and a lot of others just dropped out of the long lengthy legal process, or moved to OR where, as noted by others, there was a mad rush ending in good and legal sensimilla quality for $400/# retail last year.
      CA and fed guv mints have both had a very heavy hand in this process, once again a state talking one way, doing another way, and driving a lot of folks a way.
      Time and enough to completely legalize this wonderful God give ”Sativa” etc, and let the market sort it out by qualities, pain relief being the most important for anyone over 40 or so…
      IMO, any real conservatives would have made this substance totally legal a long time ago, just another example of the so called conservatives actually being just reactionaries on both sides of the aisles.

  8. Just Some Random Guy says:

    I was a quasi stoner in college. Everyone I knew smoked. One of my roommates junior year was stoned from the time he woke up to the time he went to sleep. He’s a partner in a prestigious law firm today, lol. But what the hell, we were 19,20 and if you weren’t stoned you were probably drunk instead.

    But….if you’re still living that lifestyle at 29 or God forbid 39, that’s pathetic. Right up there with people in the 30s spending their lives playing video games. I’m not saying ban weed again since prohibition never works. And you might as well get a couple of $$ in tax revenue out of it. But it does have a detrimental effect on society there’s no denying that.

    • Yertrippin says:

      …”if you’re still living that lifestyle at 29 or God forbid 39, that’s pathetic.”

      Why’s that?

      How about someone who drinks everyday, or smokes cigarettes? Or weekend binge drinks? Are they pathetic?

      Weed isn’t perfect, but the propaganda against it sure has been.

    • nick kelly says:

      This guy isn’t replying to me but should be blocked. This is not ZH and I don’t think it should be. I’ve had my share of disagreements here without this kind of talk.

  9. MiTurn says:

    “And the black market continues to do its thing.”

    I am not a pot smoker, but I’ve heard from people who I know that are state that the price of legal pot is still too high (no pun intended) compared to what they can buy from their ‘regular’ sources. Even more, it is so easy grow (unlike brewing your own beer or wine, which can be done, but takes more effort).

    On a related note (state-sanctioned drugs as tax revenue), when the State of Washington shut down all of its liquor stores and allowed grocery stores to sell liquor, e.g. Safeway, they still kept their fingers in the pie. I recently bought a bottle of gin at a local Safeway, along with some regular groceries. I thought the bill was higher than usual. Then I noticed a 25% tax + sales tax on the gin. Ouch! My $18 bottle of gin cost me over $24. I guess I’m going to have to buy my gin on the street from a covert supplier. ‘Dude, got any gin?”

    • Tom15 says:

      We keep the speak easy well stocked.
      We consider it essential. Bootleggers welcomed.

  10. Henry Ford says:

    When the taxes go high enough, the stupid bureaucrats will have killed their own goose. Then CA will try to tax pot purchased in other states. The Black Market will grow since it will be able to raise prices. And the weed will then be seen growing in backyards and roadside ditches. No officer, I was not picking that plant, just stopped to admire the scenery.

    As Bob Dylan said, “Everybody must get stoned”.

    • 91B20 1stCav (AUS) says:

      Henry: California has been growing more than it can sell locally legally/illegally for a number of years, now. Legalization has hit the numerous small growers in my area so hard that their income streams are mostly from ‘export’ sales to states east (the increase of out-of-state plates ‘touring’ our rural area has been astounding over the last five years), the weed-runners are the ones actually making any real money. Discussions with my neighbors who grow over the years led me to believe that they really just wished to be able to moonshine legally (i.e.: no taxes or real oversight), rather than try to produce legally as farmers (with all of the overheads associated with that endeavor)-which, as we know, is a very
      long and hard row to hoe (sorry, couldn’t resist).

      Everyone stay well, be ready to evac if you’re in a fire area (have had to do this myself). And-may we all find a better day…

  11. wkevinw says:

    There is always some kind of free market. It’s called the black market.

    There was a big black market infrastructure prior to legalization. They can go for a while with this infrastructure. They’ll have to arrest a lot of people and burn a lot of plants before they get it all. It might be impractical to ever accomplish.

    That’s what the people who want to centrally plan an economy through taxes and arrest, want to ignore. If you want to create a corrupt economy, make some high taxes and force compliance by over-policing.

    It’s actually a very simple concept, but I guess people don’t want to believe it. I have never been able to figure that one out.

    • Just Some Random Guy says:

      In the Eastern Bloc, the black market economy was bigger than the above ground economy. This was facilitated by a network of corruption at all levels of government (which of course controlled the entire “legal” economy). Everywhere in the world there is a direct correlation between increased government control of the economy and the size of the underground economy. And governments never learn. Or don’t care I guess.

    • accidentally on purpose says:

      Who said they’re ignoring it? Lots of third hand stories in the Emerald Triangle of county official’s families getting permits while long time farmers can’t, and of sheriffs getting $200K payoffs to leave the crop alone, and of local LEO selling lbs to a certain shop in SF.

  12. HollywoodDog says:

    I’m in favor of marijuana decriminalization, but I admit habituation negatively impacts some users’ lives. I don’t see how annual tax receipts of about $1 billion has noticeable effect on a $222 billion state budget. Am I getting the math wrong?

    • 2banana says:

      You pretty much got it right.

      Same for Colorado in which we can study long term data.

      Legalized drugs is no magic bullet as it was advertised.

      It has both positive and negative effects with the overall big picture of having slightly more tax revenue along with a slighter higher DUI and loss of productivity rate.

      Basically. A wash.

      • Gbucks says:

        June marijuana sales in CO $198 million 30% higher than last year…$198million/$1400 rent = 141000 rent payments….Must be a good economy.

    • OutWest says:

      Don’t forget to add in cost savings related to enforcement, court costs, jail/prison costs, and a number of other costs largely paid by taxpayers. Try getting a job after a pot bust…so now you the taxpayer pay indirectly for someone’s loss of productivity.

      Legalization has proven to be the sensible path forward.

    • Wolf Richter says:


      A billion here and a billion there and pretty soon we’re talking about some real money….

      Actually, the budget outlays are $201 billion, as per July 29 announcement. Since this is a “balanced” budget, hahahahaha, there shouldn’t be a deficit. So they’re trying to close that yawning “budget gap,” as it’s called here, and any billion going their way is going to help.

  13. Seneca's cliff says:

    In Portland the Cannabis stores have had lines outside them all through the pandemic. Not sure if that will continue once fed and state unemployment and stimulus money ends. When Oregon legalized pot they did not put any restrictions on the number of growers so the industry overproduced and prices dropped in to the gutter, many of the growers and stores went bankrupt, not sure if that is still the case but it is a little troubling that when the pandemic ends they might find out that a significant portion of the workforce has become useless stoners.

  14. Gian says:

    When it comes to tax revenue, there is no vice too sordid for government. By the way, if you want to see the effect of your brain on drugs, listen to Cher, Neil Young and a plethora of other “celebrities” pontificate about politics.

  15. Jdog says:

    How can a country claim to be free when the government tries to tell the people what they can and cannot do with their own bodies?
    The fact is freedom and liberty are predicated on the basic concept that each person owns their body, and owns their life.
    The government has now become a feudal lord, and is claiming ownership over the citizens, and that is not freedom. We are no more free than any other feudal dictatorship….

  16. The revenue from growing, jobs and equipment suppliers, is far more coveted than sales tax revenue. People are not consuming the raw bud, they are opting for resins and cbd oils. This is a value added process. The commodity price of bud may drop, their products will continue to expand the revenue base. My local government opposes outdoor growing and the cost of a greenhouse which satisfies local regulations, and the cost in taxes to the state, makes a pot farm less economically feasible. During the final wave of illegal growing, methods moved indoors, to hydroponic systems. The product was scarce enough to justify the added expense of chemicals and lights, and utility costs. Upside you can grow several crops a year, and better control your profile. Various strains have been adapted to indoor growing; clones, feminized, and auto flowering varieties. Now the system is going back outdoors and the drop in price is going to hurt the hitech grower, who is the future.

  17. Bobby says:

    So one would assume other states would be looking for new sources of tax revenue and legal marijuana will soon be sweeping the country.

    • doug says:

      Bobby, some of us are hoping for that. yes.
      medical if not recreational.
      I have spinal cord injury. THC/CBD is the only relief I have found from acute nerve pain.

      • Bobby says:

        Hoping for that too! I am not a user, but I know the benefits for many (cancer patients to people with MS to help cope.)

  18. MCH says:

    Stop the presses, law enforcement must work overtime on this issue of black market products. It can be very dangerous to the health and safety of our citizens.

    Pull all units from the streets, all other criminal cases and public safety are secondary until this problem around black market cannabis is solved.

    The government needs that cannabis tax revenue, the law around legalized cannabis must be obeyed. And if law enforcement has problem with this, they must remember that this tax revenue supports their paycheck.

    This is real money we are talking about here.


  19. Trailer Trash says:

    The current state-federal-sorta-legal stalemate is ideal. Regular people can buy it (in some places) without fear of the cops while the organized crime black market can continue to buy up cops, judges, politicians, etc.

    The maze of “legal” regulations means that it is easy to nab someone the cops want to harass, so it is still useful for social control, the original reason for cannabis prohibition. This is more important than ever during the current social unrest. Remember, the process is the punishment. Actual guilt or innocence is irrelevant.

    We can thank nosy church ladies for the alcohol prohibition regime that fertilized and nurtured the organized crime network now running the US, or rather, running it into the ground. There was so much money in bootleg booze, how could anyone be expected to resist? And so a bootlegger’s son became President JFK, and the present president is a long-time criminal, and it’s all good.

    There’s not much money in moonshine anymore; today, the big money is being made … on Wall Street, by the same criminals. Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.

  20. lenert says:

    In Washington State the overriding concern around legalization was abuse and especially by those underage so the (sin) taxes are about discouraging abuse by keeping prices high.

    But the industry continues to overproduce and prices continue to fall. The liquor and cannabis control board gradually raised the excise tax from 10% to now 40%. Still an ounce at retail today is easily half that of the street price before legalization and it’s bug free, chemical free, and mold free. It’s tested and labelled, and packed in child-proof packaging. Every retail tender has a state badge and every transaction is tracked to their name – far more stringent control than alcohol vending – but they don’t lock you in the store like they do in Nevada.

  21. Implicit says:

    Each member of a household may grow 6 plants (in many states) a piece for personal use. A good yield would get a household of 2 between 6-12 lbs. of pot. Those two people would be using a lot if they could smoke, eat edibles etc… an ounce /month or 1.5 lbs/yr. Black markets matter for less expensive weed, and extra cash for their labor of love. Cash that still adds to the GDP without taxation.

  22. Josh says:

    The black market or small businesses? In so cal some cities created a lottery to open a biz. The entries and winners are all secret. Lottery permis are being flipped by lawyers and corp types. Experienced small biz owners are being shut out. Its a total nightmare. I support the “black market” the real criminals are the corrupt politicians and these pretend business people who can’t compete on a fair playing field.

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