Back in 2016, market research experts predicted that the legal cannabis industry would earn over $21 billion by 2020. Looking back on that prediction after all of the lucrative advancements made by legal marijuana businesses and entrepreneurs since then, that figure seems fairly conservative at this point. CNBC recently highlighted that sentiment in a story about the predictions made by the New York City comptroller. The comptroller, Scott Stringer, said that legal cannabis in the empire state could be over a $3 billion dollar market, right from the start.
“This is a new revenue stream,” Stringer said on the show Power Lunch. “This is going to impact the kinds of resources we’ll have to invest in education, to invest in health care.”
As we’ve already seen in states like Colorado, many pro-pot lawmakers are eager to get bills passed into laws, most likely due to the vast amount of tax dollars they could rake in if such laws came to pass. If the $3+ billion dollar market estimate is accurate, New York state as a whole would stand to take in $435.7 million in annual tax dollars, while New York City would get about $336 million, according to Stringer.
Stringer went on to further explain how he arrived at the $3+ billion dollar figure when it comes to the legal cannabis market – explaining that of the 15.1 million adults residing in New York state, approximately 10 percent of them currently use the plant medicine in some way. This breaks down to about 1.5 million people who illegally ingest cannabis in New York State at this time.
More than likely, this is a conservative estimate, as it’s not a common thing for users to admit that they ingest cannabis when it’s illegal. It’s highly probably that this figure is closer to 2 million people, or even higher. Stringer went on to estimate that users could spend over $2,000 a year on cannabis, should it become legal in the state of New York. It is unclear how he arrived at this particular figure, however.
The interview closes out with Stringer applying common sense to the age-old legalization debate, which is relatively refreshing coming from a state official, considering how many public servants remain in the prohibitionist mindset.
“Let’s not be naive,” Stringer said. “Marijuana has been around for decades, it’s the underground economy. The state and city gets no economic benefit from it. We don’t have an opportunity to regulate it.”