Economic impacts of legalizing recreational marijuana

Local News

ALBANY, NY – The Citizens Budget Commission has a new report out about potential revenues that could come from recreational marijuana if it’s legalized in New York.

NewsChannel 34’s Corina Cappabianca has more with the author on the numbers and how long it could take to implement.

Governor Cuomo has voiced support for legalizing recreational marijuana use.

Earlier this month he called it the “right policy,” and said “the state is going to be desperate for funding.”

But, a new report from the Citizens Budget Commission says “state leaders should be cautious about relying on these potential revenues to help close budget gaps.”

Patrick Orecki who authored the report says there are two main phases after legalization.

The first is working out the regulatory structure.

((Patrick Orecki, Citizens Budget Commission Senior Research Associate)) What we’ve seen is that that takes generally over a year to get from legalization to a functioning commercial market. Those times have been trimmed quite a bit, frankly, as more states have been implemented and states can draw on what has happened around the country. So about one year is reasonable there.

Once the commercial market is in operation, it takes time for people to start using dispensaries to buy products.

((Patrick Orecki, Citizens Budget Commission Senior Research Associate)) That generally takes about two to three years consistently for customers to move to those marketplaces and for those marketplaces to yield substantial tax revenues for the state.

Orecki says in the past the Governor’s Office has forecasted about $300 million in revenue from the legalization of recreational marijuana annually once established, but it can be reliant on different factors like tax framework structure.

((Patrick Orecki, Citizens Budget Commission Senior Research Associate)) California is generating the most revenue of any state because of its size, especially, but it has experienced a lot slower maturation of that revenue source than some other states did, they’ve had a fairly sticky illicit market where people are still just using the same channels that they use to purchase marijuana previously. So every state’s experience, is absolutely different in it.

According to the CBC, California brought in about 764,000,000 from recreational marijuana revenues from July 2019 to June 2020.

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