SAN FRANCISCO – A bill to tax and regulate marijuana in California like alcohol would generate nearly $1.4 billion in revenue for the cash-strapped state, according to an official analysis released Wednesday by tax officials.
The State Board of Equalization report estimates marijuana retail sales would bring $990 million from a $50-per-ounce fee and $392 million in sales taxes.
The bill introduced by San Francisco Democratic Assemblyman Tom Ammiano in February would allow adults 21 and older to legally possess, grow and sell marijuana.
Ammiano has promoted the bill as a way to help bridge the state's $26.3 billion budget shortfall.
"It defies reason to propose closing parks and eliminating vital services for the poor while this potential revenue is available," Ammiano said in a statement.
The way the bill is written, the state could not begin collecting taxes until the federal government legalizes marijuana. A spokesman says Ammiano plans to amend the bill to remove that provision.