The nationwide legalization of marijuana would rake in more than $3 billion in state and local tax revenue every year, a new study has found. While the study estimates Colorado will rake in $78 million in sales and excise taxes by June 2015, California comes out on top and would tally more than $519 million – roughly the equivalent of the state’s entire parks and recreation budget, consumer group Nerd Wallet announced Monday. Texas, Florida, Michigan and New York also stand to get the most revenue, while rural Midwestern states would earn the least. The study did not take into reduced spending on law enforcement by not having to enforce certain laws, medical marijuana sales and fluctuations or potential long-term market shifts.
A recently commissioned poll by United for Care shows strong and stable support for Florida Amendment 2, a measure that would allow for the medical use of marijuana in the state. According to the survey conducted on behalf of United for Care, the main organization advocating for passage of the amendment, 69% of likely voters in Florida support this measure with only 28% opposed. 60% voter approval is needed to pass a Constitutional Amendment in the State of Florida. United for Care has conducted four internal polls since January 2013, employing 3 different pollsters. The first survey by Hamilton Campaigns showed 70% support in January 2013. The second, carried out in March of 2013 by the Kitchens Group, revealed 71% intended to vote “Yes.” A June 2014 poll by Anzalone Liszt Research and Public Opinion Strategies reported 70% voter support for the amendment.
Washington, D.C., voters appear to be ready to legalize marijuana, according to a new poll that puts support at 65 percent. On Nov. 4, D.C. voters will decide Initiative 71, which would legalize adult marijuana use, possession of up to two ounces, and home cultivation of up to six marijuana plants for personal use. The sale of marijuana would remain illegal. The D.C. Council is considering a separate bill that would allow the regulation and taxation of marijuana. According to the Washington Lawyers’ Committee, arrest statistics from 2009 to 2011 revealed that nine out of 10 people arrested for drugs in Washington were black, though blacks make up just slightly more than half of the city’s population. Yet government surveys show that blacks are no more likely than whites to use the drug. Earlier this year, the D.C. Council decriminalized the possession of an ounce or less of marijuana. The District legalized marijuana for medical use in 2010.
Oregon’s former U.S. Attorney, Kris Olson, has endorsed Measure 91, which would regulate, legalize and tax marijuana for adults 21 and older. Olson has worked in justice and law enforcement for more than 40 years. “I enforced our marijuana laws, and they don’t work,” she said. “Filling our courts and jails has failed to reduce marijuana use, and drug cartels are pocketing all the profits.” Olson joins several other high-profile supporters of Measure 91, including former Oregon Supreme Court Justice Bill Riggs and former Addictions and Mental Health Services of Oregon director Richard Harris. “With the limited resources law enforcement has, police need to be focused on things that are a real threat to our community, not marijuana,” Olson said. “We want them to be spending their time on real problems: dangerous, addictive drugs like meth and heroin, and, most of all, violent crime.”
Hundreds of military veterans received marijuana free of charge in Denver on Saturday. The unusual event included free medical marijuana and edibles. A handful of Denver area businesses teamed up for the largest event ever hosted by Operation Grow4Vets. Saturday’s Denver Cannabis Giveaway also handed out 400 bags of marijuana-infused products to military veterans in need. “I’m allergic to morphine opiates, I can’t take them,” said Mark Pitt, Vietnam-era veteran. “So I don’t have much choice other than do that.” But Bob Doyle with the Colorado Smart Approaches to Marijuana (SAM) questioned the safety of giving out the green to the veteran population. “These people are getting marijuana with varying degrees of potency and THC. That could cause things like paranoia,” Doyle said. “Obviously things that we wouldn’t want somebody with PTSD to be experiencing.”