A new study by a UConn economist says legalizing recreational marijuana in Connecticut would generate between $784 million and $952 million in new state tax revenue over five years.
The study, funded by a national group that lobbies for marijuana legalization, says direct new revenue from legalization would range from $35 million to $48 million in the first year of sales to as high as $223 million in the fifth year.
The money would help the state in the long run, but officials say the program would not be up and running quickly enough to directly impact the current fiscal year’s deficit of $2 billion, driven largely by the coronavirus pandemic. The General Assembly has debated marijuana legalization for several years and that debate is expected to resume when lawmakers return to session in January.
UConn professor Fred Carstensen, the study’s author who serves as the director of the Connecticut Center for Economic Analysis at the UConn School of Business, said that multiple variables would change the amount of jobs created and tax revenue generated. The number of jobs, for example, could range from a low of 10,424 to a high of 17,462 in the fifth year, depending how much of the tax revenue is spent by the state in an attempt to generate economic activity. [Read more at Hartford Courant]