New York is looking at $3.1 billion market if the state legalizes recreational marijuana. That’s according to NYC Comptroller Scott Stringer.
He told CNBC that if the state legalized weed, it would gain $435.7 million annually in tax revenue, with New York City getting $336 million. And he authored a report breaking down the revenue.
Stringer’s report said that with 15.1 million adults living in New York state — 6.5 million of them residing in the city — he estimated that between 8 and 10 percent are marijuana users. That’s about 1.5 million users throughout the state, or 548,000 people in the Big Apple, the report said. And, based on those numbers, each marijuana user would spend about $2,080 annually on pot — money Stringer said would be filtered back into the economy.
“This is a new revenue stream,” Stringer said Wednesday on CNBC’s “Power Lunch,” adding, “This is going to impact the kinds of resources we’ll have to invest in education, to invest in health care.”
“Let’s not be naive,” he said. “Marijuana has been around for decades, it’s the underground economy. The state and city gets no economic benefit from it. We don’t have an opportunity to regulate it.”
He went on to say that, “We should explore this. We don’t have all the answers. We have a lot of work to do on this.”
Last month, Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY), the Senate minority leader, said he will introduce a bill to decriminalize cannabis nationwide, tweeting:
It’s time we allow states, once and for all, to have the power to decide what works best for them.
I have long believed that states should function as their own laboratories of democracy. My bill is a step in the right direction aimed at removing the barriers to state legalization efforts.
As it stands now, legislation to legalize recreational marijuana in New York is pending in Albany.