Where cannabis is supporting tax revenue the most

by Paxtyn Merten
Cannabis leaf over currency background.
Photo illustration by Stacker // Shutterstock

Where cannabis is supporting tax revenue the most

Cannabis raked in $2.9 billion in state tax revenues in 2023, according to Census Bureau data, even as it remains illegal at a federal level.

These contributions could escalate further if the federal government loosens restrictions on marijuana, which reports say could be in the works. The Washington Post reported that Attorney General Merrick Garland plans to recommend cannabis be reclassified from a Schedule I controlled substance—where it currently rates alongside drugs such as heroin and LSD—to a Schedule III drug, allowing it to be prescribed and sold with restrictions.

Despite federal regulations, marijuana is fully legal for medical and recreational use in 23 states and Washington D.C., with many others allowing its use on some level. Stacker analyzed Census Bureau data to identify where in the United States cannabis tax revenues have the highest impact.

Stacker ranked states by cannabis excise sales taxes as a percentage of general sales and gross receipts taxes in the fourth quarter of 2023. The analysis also presents information on per capita cannabis tax revenues and the state’s cannabis legalization status, though these don’t factor into the ranking. Only the 23 states with recorded cannabis tax incomes were included in the analysis, and two were unranked, as data on general sales tax incomes were unavailable.

Where legalized and taxed, marijuana is already a major contributor to local economies. Cannabis—alongside other “sin tax” items like alcohol—is typically taxed at a higher rate to fund solutions for the negative consequences of its use or history. That means it has the potential to bring in a supersized portion of tax revenues, with some earmarked for substance use disorder education or prevention and reinvestment in communities that were disproportionately harmed by the War on Drugs.

Read on to see how much tax revenue cannabis generates in your state.

Aerial view of Haines city.

mffoto // Shutterstock

Unranked: Alaska

– Cannabis’s share of general sales/gross receipts tax revenue: Not available
– Total cannabis excise sales tax revenue, Q4 2023: $7.0 million ($9.59 per resident)
– Legal status: Fully legal
– Year of legalization: 2014

View of Missoula from Mount Sentinel.

Jon Bilous // Shutterstock

Unranked: Montana

– Cannabis’s share of general sales/gross receipts tax revenue: Not available
– Total cannabis excise sales tax revenue, Q4 2023: $13.4 million ($11.84 per resident)
– Legal status: Fully legal
– Year of legalization: 2020

Red streetcar on Canal Street in New Orleans.

Canva

#21. Louisiana

– Cannabis’s share of general sales/gross receipts tax revenue: 0.02%
– Total cannabis excise sales tax revenue, Q4 2023: $239,000 ($0.05 per resident)
– Legal status: Decriminalized and medical use allowed
– Year of legalization: 2015 (decriminalized in 2021)

Biloxi Lighthouse on a clear day.

Sean Pavone // Shutterstock

#20. Mississippi

– Cannabis’s share of general sales/gross receipts tax revenue: 0.03%
– Total cannabis excise sales tax revenue, Q4 2023: $334,000 ($0.11 per resident)
– Legal status: CBD with THC Only
– Year of legalization: 2014 (decriminalized in 1978)

Georgetown and Key bridge.

Orhan Cam // Shutterstock

#19. Washington DC

– Cannabis’s share of general sales/gross receipts tax revenue: 0.06%
– Total cannabis excise sales tax revenue, Q4 2023: $301,000 ($0.44 per resident)
– Legal status: Fully legal
– Year of legalization: 2014

Pittsburgh cityscape over the Allegheny River.

ESB Professional // Shutterstock

#18. Pennsylvania

– Cannabis’s share of general sales/gross receipts tax revenue: 0.22%
– Total cannabis excise sales tax revenue, Q4 2023: $8.7 million ($0.67 per resident)
– Legal status: Medical use only
– Year of legalization: 2016

Prospect Terrace Park view of the Providence skyline and Roger Williams statue.

Richard Cavalleri // Shutterstock

#17. Rhode Island

– Cannabis’s share of general sales/gross receipts tax revenue: 0.28%
– Total cannabis excise sales tax revenue, Q4 2023: $1.2 million ($1.06 per resident)
– Legal status: Fully legal
– Year of legalization: 2022

Afternoon Little Rock cityscape.

Eduardo Medrano // Shutterstock

#16. Arkansas

– Cannabis’s share of general sales/gross receipts tax revenue: 0.29%
– Total cannabis excise sales tax revenue, Q4 2023: $3.7 million ($1.19 per resident)
– Legal status: Medical use only
– Year of legalization: 2016

Crowds of people walk across 3rd Avenue in Manhattan.

Ryan DeBerardinis // Shutterstock

#15. New York

– Cannabis’s share of general sales/gross receipts tax revenue: 0.29%
– Total cannabis excise sales tax revenue, Q4 2023: $14.8 million ($0.76 per resident)
– Legal status: Fully legal
– Year of legalization: 2021

Jersey Shore coastline aerial view.

Vincent DeMilio // Shutterstock

#14. New Jersey

– Cannabis’s share of general sales/gross receipts tax revenue: 0.30%
– Total cannabis excise sales tax revenue, Q4 2023: $9.8 million ($1.05 per resident)
– Legal status: Fully legal
– Year of legalization: 2020

Connecticut State Capitol building

Sean Pavone // Shutterstock

#13. Connecticut

– Cannabis’s share of general sales/gross receipts tax revenue: 0.58%
– Total cannabis excise sales tax revenue, Q4 2023: $9.0 million ($2.50 per resident)
– Legal status: Fully legal
– Year of legalization: 2021

Aerial view downtown at sunset.

TierneyMJ // Shutterstock

#12. California

– Cannabis’s share of general sales/gross receipts tax revenue: 1.18%
– Total cannabis excise sales tax revenue, Q4 2023: $160.7 million ($4.12 per resident)
– Legal status: Fully legal
– Year of legalization: 2016

Historic Route 66 sign in small town.

TLF Images // Shutterstock

#11. Oklahoma

– Cannabis’s share of general sales/gross receipts tax revenue: 1.26%
– Total cannabis excise sales tax revenue, Q4 2023: $12.2 million ($3.00 per resident)
– Legal status: Medical use only
– Year of legalization: 2015

Kansas City downtown with Union Station.

Sean Pavone // Shutterstock

#10. Missouri

– Cannabis’s share of general sales/gross receipts tax revenue: 1.42%
– Total cannabis excise sales tax revenue, Q4 2023: $18.1 million ($2.92 per resident)
– Legal status: Fully legal
– Year of legalization: 2023 (decriminalized in 2014)

Scenic view of Phoenix.

Gregory E. Clifford // Shutterstock

#9. Arizona

– Cannabis’s share of general sales/gross receipts tax revenue: 1.54%
– Total cannabis excise sales tax revenue, Q4 2023: $44.2 million ($5.95 per resident)
– Legal status: Fully legal
– Year of legalization: 2020

Portland Head Lighthouse and coastline.

Joseph Sohm // Shutterstock

#8. Maine

– Cannabis’s share of general sales/gross receipts tax revenue: 1.62%
– Total cannabis excise sales tax revenue, Q4 2023: $9.5 million ($6.81 per resident)
– Legal status: Fully legal
– Year of legalization: 2016

Chicago skyline and park in Autumn.

Sean Pavone // Shutterstock

#7. Illinois

– Cannabis’s share of general sales/gross receipts tax revenue: 1.71%
– Total cannabis excise sales tax revenue, Q4 2023: $69.1 million ($5.51 per resident)
– Legal status: Fully legal
– Year of legalization: 2019

Aerial view of Boston.

Richard Cavalleri // Shutterstock

#6. Massachusetts

– Cannabis’s share of general sales/gross receipts tax revenue: 1.84%
– Total cannabis excise sales tax revenue, Q4 2023: $44.1 million ($6.30 per resident)
– Legal status: Fully legal
– Year of legalization: 2016

Elevated view of Seattle Space Needle and downtown.

kan_khampanya // Shutterstock

#5. Washington

– Cannabis’s share of general sales/gross receipts tax revenue: 1.96%
– Total cannabis excise sales tax revenue, Q4 2023: $113.4 million ($14.51 per resident)
– Legal status: Fully legal
– Year of legalization: 2012

Aerial view of downtown Lansing.

Jacob Boomsma // Shutterstock

#4. Michigan

– Cannabis’s share of general sales/gross receipts tax revenue: 2.34%
– Total cannabis excise sales tax revenue, Q4 2023: $73.6 million ($7.33 per resident)
– Legal status: Fully legal
– Year of legalization: 2018

Montpelier city skyline.

Canva

#3. Vermont

– Cannabis’s share of general sales/gross receipts tax revenue: 2.62%
– Total cannabis excise sales tax revenue, Q4 2023: $4.0 million ($6.14 per resident)
– Legal status: Fully legal
– Year of legalization: 2020

Denver cityscape.

Studio 1One // Shutterstock

#2. Colorado

– Cannabis’s share of general sales/gross receipts tax revenue: 5.26%
– Total cannabis excise sales tax revenue, Q4 2023: $61.0 million ($10.37 per resident)
– Legal status: Fully legal
– Year of legalization: 2012

Portland cityscape and Mount Hood in autumn.

Nadia Yong // Shutterstock

#1. Oregon

– Cannabis’s share of general sales/gross receipts tax revenue: 11.43%
– Total cannabis excise sales tax revenue, Q4 2023: $35.9 million ($8.47 per resident)
– Legal status: Fully legal
– Year of legalization: 2014

Story editing by Nicole Caldwell. Copy editing by Paris Close.

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