What if the US legalized marijuana in 2014?


Consider a situation in which Obama legalized marijuana way back in 2014.

Why 2014?

Nicely, there’s a couple of motives why we are going to take that year in unique as our beginning point:

  • Colorado legalized recreational cannabis that year
  • Obama missed his likelihood to reschedule cannabis
  • Democrats had a majority in the Senate

I chose Colorado’s legalization date as the imaginary federal legalization date considering the fact that the regulators have been actually adamant about stats collection and evaluation in Colorado.

Most persons knew that Obama brought persons who’d fight for legalization on his group, such as the former Deputy AG James Cole who issued the now renowned Cole Memo.

Having said that, not numerous persons know that Obama had thoughts about decriminalizing marijuana throughout his second term. In reality, the former Lawyer Basic Eric Holder stated that there was an internal struggle inside Obama’s administration, and the side persuading him not to do it won.

So, who’s to say Obama wasn’t contemplating even legalization back in 2014?

In the Congress, the predicament was flipped compared to how it is now — Senate was held by the Democrats whilst John Boehner and the Republicans held the Residence.

Boehner is now spearheading the legalization lobby as he has lately taken up the helm of the National Cannabis Roundtable.

Numbers do not lie

We’re gonna do a small bit of napkin math in order to see how a great deal taxes the federal government could have collected if the numbers have been proportionate to these in Colorado.

Right here are the information:

So, with just these three numbers we can do some type of math and wildly speculate. So that is just what we’re going to do.

The taxes collected in 2017. represent about 17% of the total sales reported, which we’ll take as our federal tax as effectively. In this calculation we will not account for state and nearby taxes.

Let’s blow these numbers up.


Colorado Sales

Approximated United States Sales

Federal Tax Collected



$38,960,853,123 or ~ 39 billion

~ $six.six billion



$56,748,701,535 or ~ 56.75 billion

~ $9.65 billion



$74,510,597,961 or ~ 74,five billion

~ $12.7 billion



$85,939,026,483 or ~ 86 billion

~ $14.six billion



$88,104,391,560 or ~88,1 billion

~ $15 billion

Now, I’m no math genius, but I know my way about a calculator, and if you verify my math you will see that these numbers match.

I obtain it shocking that the United States chose to maintain cannabis illegal when the government could gather billion in taxes.

In reality, if America had legalized cannabis in 2014, the government could have collected up to $15 billion USD in taxes final year.

Taxes are a thing America requires pretty seriously, and it hardly ever misses the chance to remind its citizens of that, which tends to make me consider — “Did they even mull more than this problem?”.

The answer is yes, of course. Politicians like bringing up cannabis taxation, and how they need to do it in the case somebody all of a sudden legalizes cannabis.

Having said that, taxing cannabis can also be pretty taxing on your capability to tax persons (ha-ha, taxception!).

If the taxes are as well higher persons just will not enter the sector, or they’ll obtain techniques to function about the legal sector. This has been going on in numerous areas that currently legalized marijuana.

If the federal government ever decides to legalize and tax marijuana, the taxes need to be kept reasonably low so that the sector would flower in the initially handful of years.

Immediately after that, after the sector gains its footing the federal government could take into consideration raising taxes as a way to increase the economy.

Alas, this is all just speculation as the federal government may perhaps in no way truly legalize recreational cannabis, even though we hope it will sometime quickly.

When the government is set on legalizing marijuana, we’ll also know what sort of taxation model will be implemented in the cannabis sector.


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