In years past, the various states legalized Gambling; but, by using different approaches to arrive at the same objective–more revenue for the respective states’ coffers. Nevada, the first state to do so, legalized Full Casino Gambling back in the 1930s. That goes along with the state’s pari mutuels–horse and dog tracks, and jai alai frontons–which many states already had. Also, remember that Nevada has legalized prostitution, as well.
As other states legalized Gambling, most started with State Lotteries, then limiting Casino Gambling to only authorizing certain games, or restricting it to particular cities, existing pari mutuels or Indian Reservations. And then, in turn, some states have authorized full Casino Gambling. As more states legalized some form of Gambling, they also sought to enhance the Gambling Revenue with increased Tourism.
Colorado, which was the first state to Legalize Pot, has restricted the sale to state-regulated stores. Colorado Residents, who are 21 or older, may buy up to one ounce of Pot. For Non-Residents, the maximum purchase is just one-quarter ounce. Driving, public intoxication or sharing Pot with Minors is prohibited, similar to Laws regarding Alcohol.
Colorado is projected to realize $100 Million in Revenue from Legalized Pot (“PotRev”?) in 2014. That has resulted in other states considering following suit. But, there are several questions that should be addressed: will other states also similarly restrict the maximum quantities of Pot purchases (so as not to interfere with Federal Law); how many other states and localities will actually allow Legalized Pot; and what will happen when the novelty wares off?
Also, what might work in Colorado–a state with a young, liberal population–might not necessarily work well in other states–especially those with older, more-conservative populations. And, similar to Gambling being phased-in in some states, might Colorado have plans to eventually increase the quantity that may be purchased?
Legalized Pot is not going to increase Revenue from Tourism by any appreciable amount. Would you drive fifty miles for a few tokes? So, how many states will actually move to Legalize Marijuana–and truly benefit from it? Its too early to even guess.
In the early stages of Legalized Gambling, Politicians emphasized that the proceeds would be used to fund Education and services for Senior Citizens. Unfortunately, no one held the Politicians feet to the fire on this. The actual answer to this that funding of such popular purposes, such as Education and Senior Services, is hard to reject. But, what happened to the original funding that was already earmarked–in the Pre-Gambling Era?
In the end, oftentimes, it was merely a shell-game in that the (New) Gambling Revenue merely replaced the (Old) Previously-Existing Revenue. Will Pot Legalization Laws, at least in some states, merely allow Politicians to similarly shift funds to Pet Projects, while leaving Education and Seniors’ Funding unchanged?