About a month into Colorado's adventure in legal marijuana commerce, Gov. John Hickenlooper is raising estimates of how much tax revenue it will bring in from $70 million all the way up to $98 million.
It is worth noting, though, that you really want to think about the fiscal impact of legal pot in a more comprehensive way. A key question about the public health impact of legal marijuana is how does it change alcohol consumption patterns. To the extent that legal marijuana displaces legal booze purchases, you're going to see an offsetting decline in alcohol tax revenue. Which would be fine—a big win for public health, in fact—but not quite the financial bounty states may be hoping for. Alternatively, if legal pot leads to a complementary surge in beer drinking, you'll have lots of tax revenue but potentially large problems.
TODAY IN SLATE
The Democrats’ War at Home
How can the president’s party defend itself from the president’s foreign policy blunders?
Congress’ Public Shaming of the Secret Service Was Political Grandstanding at Its Best
Michigan’s Tradition of Football “Toughness” Needs to Go—Starting With Coach Hoke
A Plentiful, Renewable Resource That America Keeps Overlooking
Windows 8 Was So Bad That Microsoft Will Skip Straight to Windows 10
Cringing. Ducking. Mumbling.
How GOP candidates react whenever someone brings up reproductive rights or gay marriage.
You Deserve a Pre-cation
The smartest job perk you’ve never heard of.