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How Much Revenue Would Legalizing Marijuana Generate For New York City?


New York medical marijuanaBy Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director

The regulation and taxation of marijuana for New York City residents age 21 and over would yield an estimated $431 million in annual savings and revenue, according to a report released by the New York City Comptroller’s Office. The mission of the Comptroller’s Office is to ensure the financial health of New York City by advising the Mayor, the City Council, and the public of the City’s financial condition.

The report, entitled “Regulating and Taxing Marijuana: The Fiscal Impact on NYC,” estimates that regulating and taxing the commercial production and retail sales of cannabis to adults would yield an estimated $400 million annually. This figure is based on existing estimates regarding cannabis’ present market price and demand in New York City, as well as by calculating the imposition of an excise tax (on commercial production) and sales tax (on retail sales).

Authors further estimate that $31 million dollars would be saved annually in eliminating citywide misdemeanor marijuana possession arrests [NY State Penal Law 221.10 — possession of any amount of cannabis in public view], which in recent years have totaled approximately 50,000 arrests per year — largely as a result of law enforcement’s aggressive use of ‘stop-and-frisk’ tactics. Persons arrested are often under age 25 and disproportionately are those of color. Combined, blacks and Hispanics make up 45 percent of marijuana users in New York City, but account for 86 percent of possession arrests, the Comptroller’s report found.

The Office did not attempt to quantify the broader economic impacts of legalization, including the costs of lost time, work, and other opportunities currently imposed on those arrested. The report’s authors also acknowledged that they did not attempt to quantify the costs of incarceration, which are largely borne by the state, or other secondary fiscal impacts of legalization, such as the positive or negative effects on public health spending.

Following the release of the study, City Comptroller and Mayoral candidate John Liu spoke out in favor of legalizing the consumption of cannabis by adults, stating: “New York City’s misguided war on marijuana has failed, and its enforcement has damaged far too many lives, especially in minority communities. It’s time for us to implement a responsible alternative. Regulating marijuana would keep thousands of New Yorkers out of the criminal justice system, offer relief to those suffering from a wide range of painful medical conditions, and make our streets safer by sapping the dangerous underground market that targets our children.”

A summary of the report is available online from the NYC Comptroller’s Office here. The full report is available here.

Source: NORMLmake a donation


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Johnny Green


  1. Awesome! Be that change you wish to see in the world! A true Citizen based legislature with you in it could change America forever!

  2. That would make too much sense Marty… You know these ass heads aren’t interested in doing that.

  3. Russell Allen Hurley on

    “The bottom line
    on Congress is simple. You can place all the blame
    you want on George W. Bush or Barack H. Obama. But the simple fact is
    that it was Congress who voted twice to start wars without raising
    taxes to pay for them. It’s Congress that has wasted taxpayer dollars
    fighting to repeal a law that’s already withstood Constitutional

    scrutiny at the hands of the Supreme Court. And it’s Congress who has
    failed to take the lead on climate change, immigration or ending our
    stupid War on Drugs. It’s Congress that is most to blame for what’s
    truly broken in our country, regardless of which person sits in the big
    chair in the Oval Office.”

    For the first time last year the USA incarcerated more people for

    Marijuana than ALL VIOLENT Crimes COMBINED! We don’t need MORE JAILS.
    We need to decriminalize marijuana and release 40% of the prison
    population. When we end “The War on Marijuana” we won’t need a new
    prison for decades.$42 Billion in taxes and wasted law enforcement
    expense annually lost to the economy and right into the black market.
    Mean while our children can score in school any day of the week and
    there’s nothing we can currently do about it. Because it’s completely
    UNREGULATED. It would appear that we have forsaken one of the planets
    best crops for ethanol. Also, Hemp seed oil can be extracted and
    utilized for bio-diesel. Not to mention that Hemp does not take massive
    amounts of fertilizers, pesticides or water to grow. It can also be
    cultivated and harvested 3-4 times per year yielding 3000 to 4000
    gallons per acre per year.

    I know I’m not crazy to think an ordinary citizen (Not a
    CAREER Politician) with out a huge fund raising machine can
    not only run for US House in a district that is better than 70%

    Republican. But can win support on the merits of what I say, do and
    believe using social media. I need a few thousand ??? likes to be able
    to claim mass support for legalizing nationally, hemp/marijuana. Be it
    manufacturing, medicinal or recreational use for adults.

    Lets show Washington We are serious? Help a hard working regular(NOT a
    Career Politician/LAWYER, or MILLIONAIRE) guy, go to Washington. Give me
    a look, then a like if you think a barber, *****AWARD***** winning
    small business(Kings Court
    Master Barber & Shoe Shine Service
    Est~1936)owner, US Navy veteran, former firefighter from Cincinnati
    could bring real change to the Peoples House in D.C.

    Open my page & like on Facebook, Search {Russ Hurley for Congress
    2014} on Facebook link below:


  4. not really sure how you can equate federal money to help with privatized healthcare…now the federal healthcare that is being implemented… the revenue generated from this could actually be used to fund a portion of the ACA, thus reducing costs to the consumer.

  5. Hafe a billion dollars for n.y.c. alone. Imagine country wide. A couple of hundred billion…….that would help us with the health care issues fuck obamacare….and put a lot of farmers in the green..and hundreds of eco friendly products…..what the f. Are they waiting for

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