Marijuana Legalization in Minnesota

Earlier this year, Governor Mark Dayton signed into law a bill making marijuana legal for limited medicinal use in Minnesota. Now discussion has turned to general legalization in the model of Colorado and Washington—the possible dangers as well as the potential tax revenues.

“The U.S. stands to gain, according to our calculations, $3,098,866,907 in state and local taxes per year.” –Research site NerdWallet, on estimated tax income from legal marijuana (estimated Minnesota tax revenue: $45,950,063)

“NerdWallet’s methodology is rather impressive. Researcher Divya Raghavan used data from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration to estimate how many people over the age of 25 smoke pot in each state, then used that number to divvy up the $14 billion nationwide marijuana market and determine how much stoners are likely to spend in each one. The total tax dollar figure for each state assumes a 15 percent excise tax for marijuana purchases, which is the going rate currently in Colorado.” –Brian Lambert, MinnPost

“Of course, increased revenue is no reason to legalize marijuana—though some say that motive was behind the reversal on Prohibition during the Great Depression. Nevertheless, the foregone tax revenue for Minnesota from keeping pot illegal amounts to $50 million annually, says Harvard University economist Jeffrey Miron.” –Jason Lewis, Star Tribune, July 20, 2013

“A nationwide survey released today found that legalization of recreational marijuana in some states hasn’t led to more young people smoking pot. …The survey was commissioned by the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation and included interviews with over 1,000 young adults between the ages of 18 and 25.” –MPR News, Sept. 18, 2014

“‘We feel marijuana is dangerous,” said Dave Kolb, police chief in Champlin and co-chairman of the Minnesota Police Chiefs Association. …“I think to say, ‘We have a dangerous substance that’s already legal, so let’s make another dangerous substance legal too,’ is a stupid argument.” –Star Tribune, April 24, 2014

“Sure, but it’s Minnesota, so we won’t be able to buy it on Sundays.” –Comment on, September 2014

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