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Celebrating marijuana and its taxes on 420 Day

420 marijuana day 2013 celebrant_GoToVan via Flickr CC
420 Day celebrant photo by GoToVan via Flickr

Happy 420 Day, when marijuana smokers commemorate cannabis.

It's not surprising that the origins of this unofficial holiday to celebrate weed are fuzzy.

Some say it's based on the California police or penal code number 420 that designates marijuana smoking. Not true.

Another theory is that there are 420 active chemicals in marijuana. That count must have been made after a few tokes over the line. There are more than 500 active ingredients in marijuana, with only about 70 or so being cannabinoids unique to the plant.

A more likely explanation is that a group of San Rafael, California, teenage potheads, who dubbed themselves The Waldos, got together after classes in the early 1970s at 4:20 p.m. to inhale in front of a statue of scientist Louis Pasteur.

Pot parties around the country: Whatever the basis for the day, by 1990 the pro-marijuana magazine High Times was using the term 420 and eventually bought the website Now April 20 is acknowledged as National 420 Day. Marijuana Day. Weed Day. Pot Day.

Regardless of what you call today, tens of thousands of Americans around the country are celebrating, either legally or not, wacky tobaccy.

"Reefer Madness" was a 1936 U.S. government film made to warn of the evils of marijuana.
Now the movie is part of a 420 Day celebration in Carpinteria, California. 


And as pot legalization spreads, the 420 festivals will expand.

Millions annually in pot tax collections: Officials in cities and states where marijuana is legal either for medical or adult recreational use, hope that means the taxes collected on the plant will increase, too.

There are 34 states where marijuana use is OK with a doctor's prescription and 10 (plus Washington, D.C.) where personal pot smoking for fun is allowed.

A new report from Leafly looks at some of the weed-related taxes.

The cannabis information resource website says that while in the 11 jurisdictions that have legalized recreational use of pot, only seven currently tax and regulate revenue-producing pot stores.

Those taxes, which typically are 10 percent to 37 percent on top of local sales taxes, go toward such government programs as school construction, drug abuse prevention programs and medical research.

Leafly says Washington State is the biggest pot tax winner, collecting an estimated $319 million in 2018. California is close behind, with an estimated $300 million in 2018 pot-related tax revenue.


Weed workers' wages: Mostly, though, the pro-pot group's report focuses on jobs that legal marijuana has and could produce.

There are now more than 211,000 full-time jobs in the legal American cannabis industry, according to Leafly, with more than 64,000 of those positions being added last year.

The report says California is predicted to add more than 10,000 cannabis jobs and Florida is looking at 9,500 weed-related workers by the end of 2019.

When indirect and induced jobs are added, Leafly says the total number of full-time employees in the legal cannabis sector increases to 296,000.

That means, says the report, "there are now more legal cannabis industry workers than dental hygienists in the United States."

And those current and prospective weed workers will in most cases owe state and federal taxes.

So on this 420 Day, the Leafly report gets this weekend's Saturday Shout Out.

If you're heading to or already at a pot party today, read it later when the smoke clears.

Musical marijuana: Check out my tumblr post at Tumbling Taxes for more tunes about tokes on 420 Day.

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Aussie Seedbank

Great post! Ill have to read this again when Im not at work


It is about time. There is hope for chronic pain sufferers, kids with epilepsy, opioid addicted individuals who are struggling. Get behind this legislation, do the research, find out for yourself what the real facts are with this herb Its been around since the beginning of time. There has never been anyone who had died from it. Get rid of the alcohol it will kill you. Support this issue...Its good for West Virginia. I think it could even save West Virginia, its people and its beautiful landscape from the ravages of Washington.

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