Could Legal Pot be the Cure for the New York Deficit?
I think it's pretty obvious that legal recreational marijuana is coming to New Yorkers and it's probably going to happen this year. After a couple of failed attempts, including last year's legislative acceptance being derailed by the coronavirus pandemic, the time is right and a majority of New Yorkers support it.
Even if some New Yorker won't partake in the toke, toke, pass routine they understand the impact of the additional revenue it would bring in for the state through tax dollars.
According to the Times Union, New York is projecting a budget deficit of $15 billion heading into next year due to lost tax revenue during the COVID-19 pandemic and the direct costs associated with responding to the virus. That’s the largest budget gap the state has seen in more than a decade.
According to projections, the industry will make somewhere in the neighborhood of $300 million in revenue from legal recreational marijuana. That's a lot of pot! That's like two Keith Richards and a Willie Nelson thrown in together.
Based on Cuomo’s proposal, the state Division of Budget has projected that revenue from the legalized pot wouldn’t stabilize until after its fourth year on the books. You've got to start chipping a2way at the budget deficit at some point even if it takes four years.
Remember though it's not just about the tax revenue for the state. It's also about jobs in the Canibus industry. Everything from your local "Bud-tender" at your local dispensary to the dispensary owner to the farmer growing the weed to the workers that pick and process the buds. Then there is the hemp industry and that is a whole other path of tax revenue and jobs for the state.
Currently, there are 15 states with legal recreational marijuana and they include states surrounding New York like Massachusetts, Vermont, New Jersey, and Maine. We are literally sending tax dollars into our neighboring states instead of keeping that tax revenue for ourselves.....and we really need it.