The US doesn’t exactly have money falling out of its pockets. The economy is slow, schools are underfunded, so is the healthcare system, and (oh yeah) there’s also that pesky $19 trillion debt. So maybe it’s time for state and federal governments, like so many entrepreneurs, high school stoners, and aging country stars before them, to consider pulling in a little extra income by slanging weed.

Between state and federal bodies, a legal marijuana market in the nation could earn roughly $28 billion in marijuana taxes, according to a study from Tax Foundation, an independent research organization. While $28 billion is barely a drop in the bucket for the feds, most of that money would go to individual states, which could benefit from a tax revenue boost the same way Colorado and Washington already have.

Those two states, the ones that have already enjoyed the sweet second-hand hit of recreational cannabis tax collection, are the study’s case in point. They’ve greatly exceeded expectations for weed revenue and already put that money to good use.

Colorado was supposed to earn only about $70 million per year, but, like a bong hit taken in the dark, they pulled in a whole lot more than they were expecting, with collections projected to top $140 million in the 2016 calendar year. Meanwhile, Washington’s sales average $2 million a day, which ain’t nothing to sneeze at.

If every state in the union went recreation-legal, they “could collectively expect to raise between $5 billion and $18 billion per year,” according to the study.

Were such a major change to the marijuana market to occur, it’s not projected to greatly alter prices for consumers. While prices would be expected to drop, taxes would push them back up, more or less evening each other out, according to the study.

And then your state can stop putting money into policing and incarcerating weed dealers and instead put that cash into schools so that it can have the best and brightest weed dealers in the country.

 

Image via Flickr user reynermedia