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Legal marijuana sales provide major windfall for Arizona

Marijuana AP
AP, file
Recreational marijuana was legalized by Arizona voters in 2020. Approval came with a caveat to ensure that people in areas heavily impacted by old marijuana laws would be qualified to run marijuana establishments.

The Arizona Department of Revenue says marijuana sales in the state surpassed $1.2 billion in 2021. It comes almost exactly one year after recreational marijuana sales became legal in Arizona.

According to the agency, recreational marijuana purchases also added $137.5 million in tax revenue to the state last year. Along with the state’s regular transaction privilege tax, recreational sales are also subject to a 16% excise tax.

Meanwhile, tax revenue from medical marijuana in Arizona netted an additional $59 million in 2021. The Department of Revenue says $7 million from the total has benefitted education.

In 2020 Arizona voters overwhelmingly passed Proposition 207, which legalized recreational cannabis for those 21 years and older and established a tax and regulatory framework for its sale, which began in January of last year. Medical marijuana has been legal in the state since 2010.

Other states that have passed similar laws have also seen major tax windfalls. Colorado, which legalized recreational marijuana sales in 2014, collected $423 million from taxes on cannabis last year while reporting over $2 billion in recreational sales from January through November.

Eighteen U.S. states and the District of Columbia now legally sell marijuana for adult recreational use.