Cannabis legalization advocates often tout the plant’s potential to boost state coffers. Among the case studies they cite are Illinois, which reported $52 million in marijuana tax revenue for the first half of 2020; Colorado, which collected more than $244 million from January to August; and California, which is expected to bring in $479 million in pot tax revenue for the year.
With so many businesses struggling throughout 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it makes sense to legalize weed to address dwindling government funds — right?
Wrong, according to a new study from Anderson Economic Group.
Indeed, the coronavirus pandemic has taken a toll on state budgets across the country, sending local leaders and lawmakers scrambling to find solutions and supplement revenues. But “legalizing recreational cannabis is not a panacea for the immediate shortfalls most states are facing,” AEG’s Andrew Miller and Kaitlin Lynch wrote in a report published Tuesday.
‘Significant Time Lag’
Today, 33 states allow medicinal marijuana use, and they generate tax revenue in their own right. Yet there is often a significant time lag between legalization and the first actual cannabis sales.
“It can …