As the debate over marijuana legalization wages on in New York state, a new analysis by city Comptroller Scott Stringer estimates that the potential adult-use marijuana market could bring in as much as $436 million in tax revenue for the city alone.
Using data from Colorado and Washington state, where adult use has been legal since 2014, to guide his analysis, Stringer assessed that the adult market for legal marijuana in New York could roughly be $3.1 billion, including approximately $1.1 billion from usage in the city.
Stringer then applied tax rates in line with other states and estimated New York could see as much as $436 million in annual tax revenue from legal sales, with New York City netting as much as $335 million — but he stressed the report is not just about tax revenue.
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“This is not just about dollars — it’s about justice,” he said. “Not only is marijuana an untapped revenue source for the city and the state, but the prosecution of marijuana-related crimes has had a devastating and disproportionate impact on black and Hispanic communities for far too long.”
Legalizing marijuana and reclassifying past convictions, Stringer continued, “would be critical steps towards turning the page on decades of failed policies. This is an opportunity to do what’s right and build up the very communities that criminalization tore down.”
Stringer’s report estimated that there are about 1.5 million regular marijuana users in the state, with about 550,000 of them residing in the city.
The study does not include what impact the 970,000 out-of-state city workers — or the millions of tourists — may have on the market if adult-use marijuana is legalized.
“There is simply no reason for New York to be stuck in the dark ages. This new analysis shows just how much New York City and state stand to benefit by moving toward legalization,” Stringer said.