Report: Marijuana Could Be A $3.1B Business And End “Disproportionate Impact”

Marijuana could be New York’s next cash crop. Legal weed could be a multibillion-dollar industry from which the state and New York City could reap hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue each year, according to an analysis City Comptroller Scott Stringer released Tuesday.

The potential market for adult-use marijuana could be worth about $3.1 billion statewide — more than twice as much as in Colorado — and about $1.1 billion in the city alone if state lawmakers legalize the drug, Stringer found.

If taxed at rates similar to other states, legal marijuana sales could generate nearly $436 million annually in taxes for the state and $336 million for the city.

If taxed at rates similar to other states, legal marijuana sales could generate nearly $436 million annually in taxes for the state and $336 million for the city.

“There is simply no reason for New York to be stuck in the dark ages,” Stringer, a Democrat, said in a statement. “This new analysis shows just how much New York City and State stand to benefit by moving toward legalization.”

Stringer’s study comes as Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo considers throwing his support behind marijuana legalization. The governor commissioned a study of the issue earlier this year that is expected to be released in the coming days.

The comptroller’s office used survey findings and figures from Colorado and Washington, which started allowing marijuana sales in 2014, to estimate how many New Yorkers smoke pot regularly, how much they would spend if it’s legalized and how much tax revenue those sales could generate.

Surveys suggest about 8 to 10 percent of New Yorkers use marijuana monthly, a lower rate than Colorado and Washington despite those states’ smaller populations, the report found.

Surveys suggest about 8 to 10 percent of New Yorkers use marijuana monthly, a lower rate than Colorado and Washington despite those states’ smaller populations, the report found.

But New York would still have nearly 1.5 million regular users — including about 548,000 in New York City — who would each spend close to $2,100 a year on legal pot, creating a $3.1 billion statewide market, the report says.

Stringer’s office proposed a 10-percent state excise tax on marijuana sales and a 25-percent excise tax in the city. Those rates would prevent smuggling into neighboring states and protect New York’s medical marijuana market, on which there’s an excise tax of 7 percent, the report says.

Combined with the existing 4-percent sales tax, marijuana sales could generate nearly $436 million in taxes for the state and $336 million for the city, Stringer’s office found. Localities outside New York City could also reap as much as $570 million in revenue, the report says.

Laws banning marijuana have disproportionately impacted black and Latino New Yorkers. Stringer’s office says the extra revenue could support investments in those communities.

Laws banning marijuana have disproportionately impacted black and Latino New Yorkers. Stringer’s office says the extra revenue could support investments in those communities.

Legalizing the drug would also save at least $36 million in public safety costs by eliminating misdemeanor pot possession arrests, the report says.

“This is not just about dollars – it’s about justice,” Stringer said.

Stringer’s report came as city officials and prosecutors announced reforms to how they’ll enforce existing marijauna laws.

The NYPD pledged to revamp how it polices marijuana possession and public smoking over the next 30 days. And the Manhattan and Brooklyn district attorneys said they would significantly limit prosecutions for marijuana crimes.

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