Governments are commonly looking for new or different ways to raise revenue. Many voters may be more agreeable to the ways of raising revenue which don’t directly affect them or raise their own personal tax burden.

In states which have legalized marijuana, at least part of the justification was the promise of new revenue for the government. This often included the promise of new funding for schools or mental health. Who would oppose more money for schools or mental health treatment? There have been projections of how much new revenue will be generated. However, according to an October 2019 article in Politico, the promise of a new “cash cow” has not been the reality.

Colorado and Washington were two of the earliest states to legalize recreational marijuana. California and Massachusetts have followed suit. As reported in the October 2019 Politico article, “Advocates for legalization in California originally envisioned legalized pot raising $1 billion a year. As it turns out, the state raised not even a third of that in fiscal 2018-19, the first full year since recreational sales began. Massachusetts had projected it would bring in $63 million in revenue for its first year of recreational pot, which ended in June, and didn’t even get half of that.”

Even if revenue projections are met, those projections do not take into account the costs of legalization, the unintended consequences. The number of marijuana-related traffic accidents and fatalities and the number of marijuana-related emergency room visits have increased in Colorado, generating substantial costs. Beyond the financial cost of those increases are the human costs, which can’t be assigned a dollar amount.

Prop 207 is only a “cash cow” for those who sell marijuana, not for the taxpayers who will bear the costs of legalization. Vote NO on Prop 207.