New York could soon follow in the footsteps of many cities and states in the country and make marijuana the next big cash crop. The venture could bring revenue in the hundreds of millions to New York City alone says comptroller Scott Stringer.
Stringer went on to cite even more impressive numbers saying that the legalization of the drug could result in gains of $3.1 billion for the state. A number that is twice as much as the state revenue realized by Colorado. Stringer also says that approximately a billion dollars could flow through NYC alone.
The potential tax revenue that would be generated if tax rates consistent with the rest of the country are used is $436 million and $336 million annually for the state and city respectively.
The Democratic Stringer, who speaks in support of marijuana legalization, says that there is no reason that New York should continue to live in the past regarding this matter. He further explains that the present analysis details in depth the benefit to New York City, as well as the state as a whole, if a decision to be forward thinking is made.
The study by Comptroller Stringer comes at the same time the state is waiting for the results of a similar study order by Governor Andrew Cuomo. The results of the Cuomo study are expected to be released in the coming days.
The study by Stringer used surveys to determine that approximately 10% of New York residents are regular users of marijuana. This would mean that the city of New York would have over half a million pot users that are estimated to spend $2000 a year on average for legalized marijuana.
Stringer also says that part of the revenue generated by legal marijuana sales could be used to invest in African-American and Latino neighborhoods that have been disproportionately affected by marijuana prohibition.
The legalization of the drug would also trim $36 million from the public safety budget with the elimination of minor marijuana possession charges. The NYPD announced recently that it is looking to significantly change the way it polices the use of marijuana within the next month.