The Daily Chronic reports that regulating the adult use and sale of marijuana to adults would yield an estimated $525 million dollars in new annual revenue to the state of Illinois, according to economic analysis prepared by the Illinois Economic Policy Institute.
Critics and naysayers (read: haters) like former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie have often said that a state's cannabis revenue might sound like a lot of money... but in the actual scope of a state's annual budget, cannabis revenues are insignificant.
In raw numbers, the authors of the analysis would seem to agree, "... new tax revenues would be modest and would not solve Illinois’ fiscal issues..."
Still, it's difficult to be negative about projections like these:
"If marijuana were legalized, regulated, and taxed in Illinois, an estimated $1.6 billion would be sold in the state, in part due to regional tourism. At a 26.25 percent state excise tax on retail marijuana in addition to the 6.25 percent general sales tax, Illinois would:
generate $525 million in new tax revenues, including $505 million for the state and $20 million for local governments– a move that credit rating agencies have called “credit positive;”
create over 23,600 new jobs at more than 2,600 businesses in Illinois;
boost the Illinois economy by $1 billion annually; and
allow the state to make additional pension payments and vital public investments in infrastructure, K-12 public schools, college tuition assistance programs, and drug treatment and prevention programs.
Additionally, these authors recognize that the impacts of cannabis legalization in Illinois would extend past the simple balance sheet, "... they would improve the state’s budget situation and credit rating outlook, fund investments in critical infrastructure and public education, and reduce criminal justice costs.”
To that last point, the analysis states: "In total, Illinois taxpayers would save $18.4 million annually in reduced incarceration costs, law enforcement spending, and legal fees from marijuana legalization. This revenue could be redirected to solve other crimes–such as homicides, robberies, and assaults."
AND, they add, “The benefits of legalization outweigh the social costs. While some legislators and constituents are concerned that legalizing recreational marijuana would increase consumption of other illicit drugs, increase motor vehicle crashes, and reduce workplace productivity, there is no evidence to support these claims.”
And the dealer that wants to sell dime bags to your kids out behind the school?
He's out of business.
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