New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo wants his state to legalize recreational marijuana. Some state lawmakers have long supported the idea. But there has been pushback to Cuomo’s proposal.
Assemblymember Patricia Fahy, a Democrat from the Albany area, favors starting with decriminalization but raises concerns about youth usage and driving under the influence, among other issues.
“Everybody thinks that this is going to be a massive money-maker,” she said in a radio interview. “There are projections of $200 to $400 million additional in New York state. We are seeing all those numbers reach disappointing levels in the states that have legalized. They’re not meeting their targets for the most part.”
The Cuomo administration predicts $300 million in tax revenue from the sale of recreational marijuana once legalization is fully phased in, according to budget materials. But is Fahy correct? Have other states missed their revenue targets?
Ten other states and the District of Columbia have legalized recreational marijuana, though Vermont and and D.C. do not allow commercial sales.
An assessment by New York State agencies on the effects of legalization, published in July 2018, warned that “some states overestimated revenue initially, as they did not account for the length of time it takes for a recreational market to be established, leading to fewer than expected sales.”
We asked Fahy’s spokesman, Alexander Flood, for evidence of her claim. He pointed us to California, where the state collected less than it anticipated in the first full year of marijuana sales after a rocky rollout. He also referred us to reporting that showed that Colorado’s revenues didn’t meet expectations in the beginning.
We looked at revenue results in states that have legalized commercial sales:
In Colorado, revenue predictions were reduced by the governor during the first year of sales. But revenues “now greatly exceed