“You do not legalize for taxation. It is a myth. You are not going to pave streets. You are not going to be able to pay teachers. The big red herring is the whole thing that the tax revenue will solve a bunch of crises. But it won’t.”
– Andrew Freedman, former Director of Marijuana Coordination, Colorado
Many leaders nationwide are looking for ways to help mitigate the economic harms that Covid-19 has brought upon us. One industry claims it has an easy fix to shore up immense budget shortfalls: marijuana.
Tax revenue, Big Pot says, will flow almost endlessly. It’s an easy fix.
They must be smoking something.
Pro-pot advocates claim that legalizing pot sales will be a tax boon to the State treasury. What’s the likely reality? The Legislature’s professional non-partisan staff’s analysis of the constitutional amendment concluded that the early years of legal sales would raise a mere $125.6 million in new revenues. That’s just 0.031% of Governor Murphy’s $40 billion-plus proposed FY’21 budget. Reasonable people would conclude that the new tax revenue is not worth the damage that legal pot would wreak on the health and safety of New Jersey’s residents.