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According to Gov. Tony Evers’ office, Wisconsin would generate an estimated $165 million in revenue by legalizing and regulating marijuana. While some experts say this projection may be too high, neighboring states’ experiences support that Wisconsin would earn millions in tax and licensing revenue if marijuana were legalized. 

PolitiFact Wisconsin found that Evers’ office used data from Colorado and adjusted it for population and reported marijuana usage to obtain its estimate. Different state size and tax structures make it difficult to predict Wisconsin’s total revenue, but some experts said $165 million is plausible.

Illinois and Michigan, which border Wisconsin, have legalized recreational marijuana in recent years. Following its first year of legalization, Illinois made $175 million in marijuana sales taxes in 2020. Michigan made an estimated $81 million in its first full year of legalization in 2020 and nearly $210 million in 2021.

This Fact Brief is responsive to conversations such as this one.


Governor Evers: Justice Reform & Marijuana Legalization

PolitiFact: Wisconsin marijuana revenue projections valid, but overly optimistic

Daily Journal: Illinois generates 5th most tax revenue for marijuana sales

Marijuana Policy Project: Cannabis Tax Revenue in States that Regulate Cannabis for Adult Use

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Erin Gretzinger / Wisconsin WatchReporting Intern

Erin Gretzinger joined Wisconsin Watch as a reporting intern in May 2022. She is a journalism and French major at UW-Madison and will graduate in spring 2023. Erin previously worked for the Wisconsin State Journal as a reporting intern and served as the 2021-22 editor-in-chief at The Badger Herald. She is a recipient of the Jon Wolman Scholarship, the Sigrid Schultz Scholarship and the Joseph Sicherman Award Fund for her academic and reporting work.