Marijuana legalization could bring $460 million to the state’s budget, according to a new study, but opponents said new revenue doesn’t overcome increased costs.
Voters will get a chance in November to weigh in on a constitutional amendment that if approved would legalize recreational cannabis in Arkansas. Sales of marijuana would be limited to those 21 or older.
The Arkansas Economic Development Institute, which studied the economics of legalizing recreational cannabis, said new revenues from legal marijuana would total $460 million over five years. Legalization would bring $210 million to the state’s general revenue funds, create around 6,400 new jobs and increase Arkansas’ gross domestic product by $2.36 billion over five years, according to the study.
“[We’re] very direct in our aim [of] bringing forth an expanded responsible and well-regulated industry that supports law enforcement, cancer research, job creation and most importantly economic development,” said Eddie Armstrong, chair of Responsible Growth Arkansas, a pro-marijuana legalization group.
To come to the study’s conclusion, economists used data from the state’s medical cannabis industry and used a model from Regional Economic Modeling Inc. to simulate what effect legal recreational marijuana would have on the state’s economy. Researchers also used data from other states such as Colorado, California and Washington that have legalized recreational marijuana.[Read more at Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette]
© Cannabis Business Executive