As momentum builds, Maryland, Missouri, Ohio, Rhode Island and South Dakota could be next to legalize cannabis for adults aged 18 and older. (AP Photo)

By Special to the AFRO

On April 6, the Marijuana Policy Project – the largest organization in the U.S. to solely focus on enacting humane cannabis laws – released an updated report on tax revenue generated from state-legal, adult-use cannabis that includes totals for the entirety of 2021.

In 2021 alone, legalization states generated more than $3.7 billion in cannabis tax revenue from adult-use sales, which is a 34 percent increase in revenue compared to 2020. As of March 2022, states reported a combined total of $11.2 billion in tax revenue from legal, adult-use cannabis sales since 2014 when sales began in Colorado and Washington state. 

The tax revenue report includes updated numbers for the entirety of 2021 in each state that has legalized cannabis for adult use. Additionally, the report reviews the state’s adult-use cannabis tax structure and population. 

“Our report is further evidence that ending cannabis prohibition offers tremendous financial benefits for state governments. The legalization and regulation of cannabis for adults has generated billions of dollars in tax revenue, funded important services and programs at the state level, and created thousands of jobs across the country,” said Toi Hutchinson, President and CEO of the Marijuana Policy Project. “Meanwhile, the states that lag behind continue to waste government resources on enforcing archaic cannabis laws that harm far too many Americans.”

The Marijuana Policy Project is a U.S. organization that works towards the enactment of ethical cannabis laws. (Photo by

In states with legal, adult-use cannabis sales, tax revenues can be allocated for social services and programs. This includes funding education, school construction, early literacy, public libraries, bullying prevention, behavioral health, alcohol and drug treatment, veterans’ services, conservation, job training, conviction expungement expenses, and reinvestment in communities that have been disproportionately affected by the war on cannabis, among many others. 

Eighteen states have laws that legalize, tax and regulate cannabis for adults 21 and older. Eight of the laws were approved in 2020 or 2021, and in six of those states, sales and tax collections have not yet begun. Several other states are building strong momentum to legalize adult-use cannabis in 2022, including Maryland, Missouri, Ohio, Rhode Island, and South Dakota. 

2021 State-by-State Totals: 

    •    Alaska: $28,900,231 

    •    Arizona: $153,824,757

    •    California: $1,294,632,799 

    •    Colorado: $396,157,005

    •    Illinois: $424,206,703

    •    Maine: $12,362,622

    •    Massachusetts: $227,474,842 

    •    Michigan: $209,912,278 

    •    Nevada: $159,885,501

    •    Oregon: $177,773,944 

    •    Washington: $630,863,570

Year-by-Year Totals:

    •    2014: $68,503,980 

    •    2015: $264,211,871 

    •    2016: $530,521,110 

    •    2017: $723,145,481 

    •    2018: $1,275,483,830 

    •    2019: $1,707,204,090 

    •    2020: $2,766,027,570 

    •    2021: $3,715,994,252

The total tax revenue from enacting humane cannabis laws totaled $1.7 billion in 2019, roughly $2.7 billion in 2020 and $3,715,994,252 in 2021. (Photo by