ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER: California passes $1 billion in cannabis tax revenue two years after launching legal market

By Brooke Staggs


California has raised $1 billion in cannabis tax revenue since the industry kicked into gear in January 2018, according to figures recently released by the state.

The bulk of that $1.03 billion in tax money, after covering regulatory costs, has been spent on programs such as child care for low income families, cannabis research, public safety grants and cleaning up public lands harmed by illegal marijuana grows.

While industry insiders and advocates are celebrating those numbers, they’re also raising a flag about stagnating revenues and ongoing layoffs. Those hurdles, many say, can be fixed if regulators make key changes, including a seemingly counter intuitive push to lower the state’s cannabis tax rate.

In 2016, when California voters approved the legalization of recreational cannabis, officials projected that once the industry was mature it would generate $1 billion a year in taxes.

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