Legal pot could be a $3 billion industry in New York — and pour up to $772 million in tax money into state and city coffers, according to a new report.
Amid a groundswell of support for legalizing marijuana in New York, City Controller Scott Stringer found that the market could add up to $3.1 billion a year statewide, including $1.1 billion in the city.
That’s based on estimates there are about 1.5 million regular marijuana users across the state and 550,000 from the city. The report assumes they’d spend about $2,080 a year on weed, about the same as smokers in Washington and Colorado do after those states legalized the drug.
“This is not just about dollars — it’s about justice. 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,” Stringer said.
New York City could put a 25% excise tax on marijuana sales, which would bring in $336 million a year in revenue.
For the state, a 10% excise tax plus regular sales taxes would generate $436 million a year.
Sales could be even higher if people who work in the city but don’t live here buy their pot in New York, though neighboring states are also moving toward legalizing the drug.
“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.