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What Massive Marijuana Tax Revenue Can Buy California

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San Francisco (CA) – Legal pot for all California adults will be on the ballot this November. How huge of a tax windfall would this create? What could California buy with that money? According to the latest state Attorney General assessment, the Adult Use Of Marijuana Act on this November’s ballot would generate an additional $1 billion per year in CA tax revenue


“It’s extremely difficult to try to estimate the revenue associated with cannabis in California,” Drug Policy Alliance spokesperson Amanda Reiman told “People have tried to banter around numbers, but the Attorney General is really the first entity charged with trying to come up with an actual, legitimate ballot estimate. The $1 billion makes a lot of sense.” 

So what would that $1 billion buy California taxpayers these days? Funny you should ask, the Broke-Ass Sacramento Tax Assessment I-Team has the statistics ready.

What $1 Billion Buys The State of California


Oh, would SFUSD and LAUSD love to have so many new teachers. With an average starting salary of $43,091, California could hire more than 2,320 new teachers with just one year’s worth of marijuana taxes.


Image: wonderferret via Flickr

We could house all of the homeless people in both San Francisco and Los Angeles with that $1 billion. There are an estimated 7,000 homeless people in San Francisco and about 46,000 homeless people in Los Angeles. The city of San Francisco spends an average of $17,353 per person for homeless people using supportive housing programs. At that rate, $1 billion would house 57,626 of California’s homeless. Bam, homeless problem solved!


Image: Sarah Sammis via Flickr

Most of the overall $6.5 billion cost of the Bay Bridge is already paid for, but tollpayers will have to foot the $15 million bill for the already-corroded “high-strength” steel rods. Additional cannabis tax revenue could shift that cost from drivers, so tolls wouldn’t have to increase again.


Image: Nancy Pelosi via Flickr. Yes, that Nancy Pelosi

The California Health Care Almanac estimates that single coverage for one Californian costs $5,970 per year. At that rate, the $1 billion provides coverage for 167,504 people.


Image” Nazareth College via Flickr

The average annual tuition for a California state university student is $5,472, according to California A billion dollars would pay for 182,748 of those annual tuitions.

Of course, California would not spend this money on specifically these things. Inevitable budget shortfalls happen in California, and certain amounts of that $1 billion are already earmarked for mental health and substance abuse programs, or additional research.

And the billion dollars is not guaranteed. “A lot of it is going to depend on how localities embrace commercial cannabis activity,” Ms. Reiman told “So if a lot of cities across California ban cultivation and dispensing and manufacturing, obviously we’re not going to see as much revenue generated, which is going to reduce the amount of taxes we’re able to collect.”

That said, if your city did not dispense marijuana you would probably just hop one city over. So the billion dollar annual figure is very realistically attainable. We hope these estimates help you get your head around what that billion dollars could do for California, and what you should do when the Adult Use Of Marijuana Act appears on the November 2016 ballot.

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Joe Kukura- Millionaire in Training

Joe Kukura- Millionaire in Training

Joe Kukura is a two-bit marketing writer who excels at the homoerotic double-entendre. He is training to run a full marathon completely drunk and high, and his work has appeared in the New York Times and Wall Street Journal on days when their editors made particularly curious decisions.