Legalizing adult-use marijuana could give Arkansas' economy a major boost, as voters prepare to have their say on legalization measures that will appear on the state's November ballot, a new study suggests.
The study, compiled by the Arkansas Institute for Responsible Growth Economic Development, the company behind the ballot measure, estimates adult-use annual sales will average as much as $681.7 million.
The state's total marijuana sales, including medical sales, could reach $984 million by 2027, with state and local tax revenue set to increase by $460 million over the same period, the report said.
"This includes both indirect effects based on firms buying from suppliers, paying employees ... and then the induced effects of now-earned employees spending money in other markets," Michael Paco, chief economist, according to KUAR's "As a result, it has a ripple effect across the economy," the Arkansas Economic Development Institute said in a Sept. 28 news release.
Responsible Growth Arkansas' proposed constitutional amendment will appear on the state's November ballot after the state Supreme Court ruled last week that the ballot measure's title would not mislead voters.
The group submitted more than 190,000 signatures on July 8, more than double the 89,151 valid signatures needed to make its measure eligible for voting. Secretary of State John Thurston's office verified the ballot's signature on July 29, but the state board of elections rejected the measure on August 3, finding the title misleading.
Responsible Growth Arkansas hit back with a lawsuit that ended up in the state Supreme Court.Following the Supreme Court's Sept. 22 ruling, there will now be a vote that would legalize marijuana for adults 21 and older; create a licensing program for commercial cultivation and retail; authorize the Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) division Oversees the industry; and establishes a 10% "supplementary sales" tax and allocates 70% of revenue to the state general fund.
"Assuming the Adult Cannabis Use Amendment is passed, we will see total demand more than double by 2023, although...it won't go into effect until March 2023, but will rapidly grow to nearly $1 billion by the end of 2023 Our research period is 2027, Pakko said in a news conference on Wednesday, KUAR reported.
Research from the Arkansas Economic Development Institute estimates that legalizing adult-use marijuana will boost the state's gross domestic product by $2.36 billion over the next five years and create as many as 6,400 new jobs. The study also predicted that Arkansas could see a new general revenue fund of $210 million, with tax revenues contributing more than $45 million to law enforcement and $30 million to cancer research at the University of Arkansas Medical Sciences.