By Dalton Rosario
With ongoing legalization efforts across the country, state lawmakers are promoting the surplus of tax revenues generated from emerging cannabis markets as a viable solution for boosting insufficient state funded programs. As cited by New Frontier Data, a cannabis analytics firm, the U.S. is projected to generate $2.3B in medicinal and recreational cannabis tax revenues by year 2020. The real question is what will state governments do with all this money?
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel is calling for state legislation to legalize adult recreational cannabis use to dedicate its tax revenues for the sole purpose of helping the city, “address a looming pension crisis that will require nearly $1 billion in new annual retirement payments by 2023,” according to the Chicago Tribune. Although Mayor Emanuel will be leaving office next month, Governor-elect J.B. Pritzker (D) pledged during his campaign to end cannabis prohibition and intends to legalize recreational markets right away. As stated last month by a University of Illinois’ study, “legalizing cannabis in Illinois would create 24,000 jobs, generate more than $500M in tax revenue and infuse about $1B into the state economy overall by 2020.”