A former governor has advice for states looking at regulatory models for recreational marijuana: steer clear of Washington State’s example.
Johnson ran for president in 2012, a bid he is expected to reprise in 2016.
Washington State has “screwed it up as bad as they possibly can,” Johnson said.
“They have taxed it to the level where if you are a prior user of marijuana, prior to it being legal in Washington, you are still consuming it on the black market because of how expensive it is. It’s the worst-case scenario and they have it playing out in Washington State,” Johnson said.
Johnson advised future states, including Oregon and Alaska, to “forget about tax revenue” and focus on other benefits of legalization.
“The tax revenue from marijuana gets dwarfed by the savings in law enforcement, the courts and prisons. You are moving the entire industry from a black market,” Johnson said. “If there were no tax revenue at all we would be way, way ahead because of all of those other things.”