According to a report acquired by the Phoenix New Times, Arizona stands to gain $48 million in tax revenue annually by regulating marijuana like alcohol:
The Joint Legislative Budget Committee produced a report in September on the estimated impact of legal marijuana, but didn't release the data publicly. New Times obtained a copy of the report this morning.
Prepared in response to a legalization bill proposed earlier this year by a group of Democrats, the JLBC report shows that Arizona could enjoy a large boost in revenue for schools, health care and other services simply by taxing people who already use marijuana.
The Democrats' bill would have made marijuana legal for adults 21 and older, and would have allowed the plant to be sold in retail shops with an added $50-per-ounce tax.
The bill died in committee back in April, but a similar measure could be revived when the legislature reconvenes in January. Whether or not lawmakers do anything, Arizona voters are likely to see a legalization initiative on the ballot in 2016. Coordinated by the Marijuana Policy Project, the initiative is still in the drafting stage but will almost certainly include a tax-collection scheme.