NJ could gain $300M in tax revenue by legalizing pot, report says
By the end of a three-year phase-in, New Jersey could see upwards of $300 million in additional sales tax revenue from the legalization of marijuana, according to a new, joint report by New Jersey United for Marijuana Reform and New Jersey Policy Perspective.
NJ Advance Media was first to report the findings of the study, which estimated a $305.4 million tax windfall for the Garden State if pot is legalized and taxed at 25 percent. That is based on a current $343 per-ounce price for cannabis on the street, multiplied by the 2.53 million ounces -- roughly 79 tons -- of marijuana consumed on a monthly basis by nearly 366,000 New Jerseyans age 21 and up, the report said, citing federal statistics.
The underground pot market does about $869 million in annual business based on that per-ounce price, NJ Advance Media reported, which would translate to a value of $1.2 billion for the marketplace under legal consumption by residents of New Jersey and neighboring states.
Gov. Chris Christie has never expressed support for legalizing marijuana for recreational use, and would be unlikely to sign a bill to that effect currently pending in the state legislature. New Jersey's medical marijuana law was enacted shortly before Christie took office in 2010.
The NJUMR/NJPP report, which is being officially unveiled Tuesday morning in Trenton, also said enforcing marijuana laws drains both money and resources from law enforcement as well as the courts. The report said despite similar usage rates, black New Jerseyans are nearly three times more likely than whites to be arrested for marijuana possession.
Patrick Lavery produces "New Jersey's First News" and is New Jersey 101.5's morning drive breaking news reporter. Follow him on Twitter @plavery1015 or email email@example.com.