Last week United States’ Attorney Jeff Sessions rescinded federal guidance put into place during the Obama administration that prohibited federal funds to be used to police legal cannabis organizations. However, despite this decision, the New Jersey legislature is expected to move forward with policy allowing for the possession and distribution of cannabis for adults.
State Senate President Stephen Sweeney said the action taken by Sessions on Thursday was not going to deter New Jersey from moving forward with plans for legalization of recreational cannabis and that the decisions being made were not going to hinder the benefits for economic growth and social reform.
“We have taken a cautious and thoughtful approach in studying legalization for New Jersey and we have learned from the experience of other states,” Sweeney, D-Gloucester, said. “We will continue to work towards legalization and will resist any attempts by Attorney General Sessions or the Trump Administration to impose its will on the states and to stop the progress that has been made to reform the prohibition-type mentality that criminalizes the use of marijuana.” It is expected that the revenue from legal cannabis will create a windfall for the state.
The Roseland based law firm of Brach Eichler, which has two lawyers on Murphy’s healthcare transition committee estimate the revenue from the legal cannabis business could be closer to $1 billion, which is based on money collected through taxes and license and franchise fees. This far exceeds the $300 million to $500 million a year that the state projects would be raised from a tax on marijuana sales.
Nevada is another state to recently allow the use and sale of cannabis for adults throughout the state. Extrapolating the monthly average over an entire year, it is estimated that Nevada have a $378 million annual cannabis industry. This represents a low estimate, considering sales seem to be accelerating.
Throughout the country, cannabis is an up and coming, thriving industry. “If cannabis businesses were legalized tomorrow and taxed as normal businesses with a standard 35 percent tax rate, cannabis businesses would infuse the U.S. economy with an additional $12.6 billion this year,” said Giadha Aguirre De Carcer, the CEO of New Frontier, to the Washington Post.
With the country in so much debt, legal cannabis can bring in a windfall of revenue throughout New Jersey and the United States. These estimates also do not include the reduction in expenses such as incarceration and policing costs which will save states even more savings to their already strained budgets.