As of today, 24 states of the USA and the District of Columbia have legalized marijuana, though even now, the federal government classifies weed as a Schedule I drug with “a high potential for abuse.” Oregon was the first state to legalize weed in 1973. Since that time, 18 other American states have legally permitted medical use of cannabis, but only in small amounts. There are three states among them (Alaska, Colorado, Oregon) that went further and legalized recreational marijuana. A bit later, the state of Washington joined them.
Nevertheless, the federal government still claims that cultivating, distributing, purchasing, selling, possessing, or consuming marijuana is an offense against the law. When will the federal government revise the question of weed and understand that marijuana should be legalized? Well, we hope it happens very soon, but it is probably not likely. People who consume medical marijuana in order to receive an effective and long-lasting relief are the direct proof of marijuana’s usefulness. However, this fact has no influence on the government.
The only thing that may change their minds is the tax on marijuana. In Oregon, the excise tax on all marijuana products is 25%, while in Colorado, the figure exceeds 29%. However, the rate in both states is going to decrease in 2016. The highest tax is instituted in Washington—37%. In Alaska, there is still no tax, though a 20% excise tax on weed will be imposed there in the near future. Marijuana products are also not subject to taxes in the District of Columbia—not yet. According to the forecast of the Tax Foundation, Colorado is expected to get almost $140 million from weed sales in 2016, while Washington will receive nearly $270 million.
More than that, if all the states of America legalize marijuana and impose a tax on it, the U.S. government will receive from $5 to $18 billion per year! The government is probably salivating over the perspective of getting such a profit. But, to tax marijuana you should legalize it first, right? The question of the necessity of marijuana legalization is quite ambiguous as it means choosing between the legalization of marijuana with its subsequent taxation or a tax-free marijuana market. From the point of individual rights, marijuana has to be legalized with no restrictions, but will the government take it into account? We will see it in the near future.