With 2020 arriving and marking the beginning of a new decade, many laws have come into effect not only in North Carolina but across the United States.
With the enactment of one law specifically, the fiscal impact was that on January 1, 2020 the state of Illinois legalized the sale of cannabis making up to $3.2 million in revenue just on that first day of sale, according to the Chicago Tribune.
Imagine how much extra revenue the state of North Carolina could create within the cannabis market which can potentially help build up the North Carolina economy and also benefit the community. If North Carolina were to follow those footsteps and look onto Illinois or even Colorado as example states it can help create many economic opportunities within the community from jobs, to small businesses to big companies or corporations. Cannabis sales can help fund education, health care or human resources, public safety, transportation and the environment.
Currently 11 states have legalized cannabis, but according to taxfoundation.org, only 7 have a cannabis market a taxed percentage (standard state tax and local tax) which varies from the type of cannabis products being sold and the THC content it contains;
- California (15% sales tax),
- Colorado (15% sales tax; 15% excise tax),
- Massachusetts (10.75% sales tax),
- Michigan (10% sales tax),
- Nevada (10% sales tax; 15% excise tax),
- Oregon (17%sales tax), and
- Washington (37% sales tax),
Even though cannabis is a touchy topic, legalizing cannabis could be a potential benefit. Tobacco and cotton were cash crops for years bringing in revenue and if cannabis was even considered an option, it could help farmers replace lost revenue. Taxes could be used to create a state fund like Colorado that can contribute to the community and create more jobs for more citizens and more jobs could potentially lead to more small businesses opening up and that could create an economic flow of constant cash, even rebuilding factories. The marijuana tax cash fund, which receives the largest share of cannabis-related revenue must be used for health care, health education, substance abuse prevention and treatment programs, and law enforcement. Colorado State lawmakers decide exactly how to spend it and it has reached more than $6.5 billion since the state started their sales. According to The Colorado Sun, “This industry is helping grow the Colorado economy by creating jobs and generating valuable revenue that is going towards preventing youth consumption, protecting public health and safety and investing in public school construction,” Gov. Jared Polis, said in a written statement.
If a fund were to be created for North Carolina, it can be used to fund public schools, youth programs, school supplies and technology. The fund can also be used to contribute to higher education by creating grants and scholarships for students who pursue higher education. The fund can help pay for healthcare assistance and human resources which can help within the community fight homelessness, hunger, or poverty. The fund could contribute to public safety and fund government agencies to receive modern resources, fixing potholes, building roads, public free transportation within the bus system.
Lastly the fund could benefit the environment as programs or funds can be given to help maintain North Carolina parks.
Cannabis could be the new cash crop for North Carolina. According to a 2015 poll, Elon University poll, 80% of North Carolinians support legalization of medical cannabis. Our state representatives can see from states like Illinois or Colorado how beneficial cannabis can be for our economy.
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Krishna, Mrinalini. “The Economic Benefits of Legalizing Weed.” Investopedia, Investopedia, 11 Dec. 2019, www.investopedia.com/articles/insights/110916/economic-benefits-legalizing-weed.asp.