How Tax Reform Could Push More States to Legalize Marijuana

The GOP tax bill eliminates the state and local tax deduction known as SALT. This could push rich residents out of state and lower local tax revenues. To make up for the deficit, states could look to legalize weed.

Bradley Tusk |

Over the past few decades, the two statements most associated with the Republican Party are probably "No new taxes" and "Just say no." Most Republican lawmakers believe that more money should remain in people's pockets and less in government coffers (lower taxes).

They also believe the way to deal with illegal drugs is through aggressive enforcement, prosecution and abstinence (Attorney General Jeff Sessions has gone so far as to say that anyone who uses marijuana is a "bad person").

Ironically, in getting revenge on blue states by eliminating the state and local tax deduction (SALT) in the new federal tax bill, the Republican Congress and Donald Trump may be giving all of those states every incentive to legalize recreational marijuana today – and eventually legalize other drugs too.

Take New Jersey and New York. Both are very high tax states where eliminating the SALT deduction will hit residents and local governments especially hard. Now that New Yorkers and New Jerseyites are going to see their federal taxes rise by as much as 7 to 8 percent, they're going to have to find savings somewhere.

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