Could Legalizing Marijuana be West Virginia's Pot of Gold?

The State Journal, WBOY-TV - Legalizing marijuana in West Virginia could generate as much as $194 million a year in tax revenue and put people to work, a report released by the West Virginia Center on Budget & Policy suggests. Read

Decriminalizing the drug for those with small amounts of marijuana could also save the state some of the $17 million a year spent in enforcing marijuana laws and decrease West Virginia's jail population, the report says.

"States like Colorado and Washington are adding tens of millions of dollars to their state budgets due to legalizing marijuana," said Tara Holmes, author of the report. "In these times of record budget shortfalls, the time could be right for West Virginia legislators to explore the same, with our estimates running from $45 to $194 million in marijuana tax revenue, depending on out-of-state participation."

The report, "Modernizing West Virginia's Marijuana Laws: Potential Benefits of Decriminalization, Medical Marijuana and Legalization," suggests that legalizing and regulating marijuana sales in West Virginia could generate almost $45 million in tax revenue each year if taxed at a rate of 25 percent. That figure could jump to an estimated $194 million if 10 percent of marijuana users within 200 miles of West Virginia visit the state to buy the drug, the report suggests.

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