It’s not just the people smoking it who are loving life after marijuana was legalised in Washington – the state government has reportedly raked in over $65 million (£41m) in taxes on cannabis over the past year.
Residents of the U.S state voted in 2012 to legalise the possession and sale of limited amounts of weed, and the law officially came into effect last July.
So far, the revenue from marijuana sales has exceeded $260 million, with the state government pocketing close to $70 million from that in taxes – nearly double the original forecast of $36 million.
The Washington government now plan to lower excise taxes and regulate medical cannabis to help the fledgling industry further.
Adult residents can currently purchase up to one ounce (28 grams) of marijuana. They can also buy up to 16oz (454g) of weed-infused products in solid form, or up to 72 ounces (2kg) in liquid form.
A recent report by the Drug Policy Institute indicates that, since pot was legalised in Washington, cannabis-related offences for those aged 21 and above have decreased by 98%, and convictions related to the drug are down 81%.
Speaking to Jefferson Public Radio, Mark Cooke, campaign policy director for the American Civil Liberties Union of Washington, said:
At this point, I think we can say fairly safely the sky hasn’t fallen. Some of the doomsday scenarios of huge increases in DUIs and youth marijuana use haven’t yet appeared.
Colorado, where recreational sales have been legal since January 2014, collected $44 million in tax revenue from marijuana businesses in the first year.
Oregon, Alaska and the District of Columbia have also legalised possession of small amounts of marijuana and, after they see these incredible figures, we expect many more state governments will start following suit!
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