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Report claims economic benefits from new medical marijuana legislation

Neeta Lind

The regulation and taxation of the medical marijuana industry could generate up to $63 million a year for state and local governments according to recent report. 

Gary Wolfram, the director of economics at Hillsdale College and a former deputy state treasurer for taxation and economic policy wrote the report.

Wolfram’s reportstudied House Bills 4209, 4210, and 4827, which were passed by the state House in October of 2015. The bills would allow the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs to license retailers, testers, growers, processors, and transporters of medical marijuana.

This legislation would also place a 3-percent tax on the gross retail income of provisioning centers and a 6-percent retail sales tax on medical marijuana. 

Right now it is illegal to sell medical marijuana.  Today’s patients with a prescription are allowed to either grow it on their own or collect the cannabis from a caregiver. Caregivers are allowed to grow marijuana for five people at a time.

Commissioned by the Michigan Cannabis Development Association, Wolfram’s report estimates Michigan would raise between $44.3 million and $63.5 million in annual tax revenues per year. The report also reiterated the potential to “generate an estimated 10,000 new jobs in Michigan in the early years of implementation.” 

Wolfram’s report doesn’t touch on the politics of marijuana and the legality of it. Instead, the report describes what economic benefits could come from the legislative changes. 

“None of this analysis says, ‘Should we have medical marijuana?’,” Wolfram reiterated. “We already have medical marijuana. What this study says is, ‘If what you did was clarify the law and made it so that people have a license to do this and you tax them, this is what you will get.’” 

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