Texas Will Rake in the Green if It Legalizes Marijuana

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To legalize or not to legalize? That is the question voters in Alaska, Florida, Oregon and Washington D.C. will be deciding come November. Meanwhile, Texas is a long way off from getting into the whole recreational marijuana game. However, all hope is not lost (if you're one of those in favor of it), because one of the best arguments in favor of letting everybody light up all nice and legal in the Lone Star State was just quantified and released in a study.

Yep, we're talking money as in the tax dollars that Texas and other states stand to rake in if the people, in their infinite wisdom, should decide to follow the path of Colorado and Washington. Colorado should pull in more than $60 million in tax revenue from marijuana sales from the first year alone, and an analysis from Nerdwallet, a personal finance website, predicts that the rest of the states could rake in more than $3 billion in tax revenue as a whole if recreational marijuana was legalized across the board.

The analysis, based on pot-use stats from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, predicts that Texas could pull in $166 million from recreational marijuana, a figure that honestly seems a little conservative to us. See, the numbers assume that Texas would only levy a 15 percent tax and also that only current smokers (aged 25 years old and over) would actually smoke. Consider that the state's alcoholic beverage tax raked in almost $1 billion in fiscal year 2013, or that the cigarette and tobacco tax gave the state $1.6 billion in revenue that same year. Clearly, as a whole, we're not particularly averse to vice.

So we're thinking the actual take could be significantly larger. Yes, Texas tends to shy away from taxing things, but we're pretty sure that, should marijuana be legalized, Texas would tax the hell out of it. Plus we're betting a lot more people would start lighting up if weed was legal. The folks at Nerdwallet acknowledged that their estimate is likely on the conservative side, but it's pretty interesting that even a cautiously optimistic outlook still calls for $166 million in tax revenue. Even those who are against weed might still be down with seeing the state make some money off some pot smokers.

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