An economic study conducted by the University of Illinois found that legalizing recreational marijuana would be of great benefit to the state. It would boost the economy by creating about 24,000 new jobs. The study estimates that about $525 million in tax revenue could be generated annually.
The study also estimates that about 2,600 new businesses could open, according to the Daily Illini. Approving marijuana legalization would also save the state about $18 million in law enforcement costs. The money saved here could be used to help infrastructure and education.
Director of the Illinois Economic Policy Institute, Frank Manzo, said, “This is an economic opportunity of the state, while saving money for taxpayers. Legalizing marijuana would create an entirely new sector in the economy that’s already open for business in 10 other states.”
Robert Bruno of the School of Labor and Employment Relations commented that decriminalization could also have social benefits.
Manzo pointed out that statistics regarding the social cost of legalization get inflated and that research shows that marijuana use typically stays the same regardless of marijuana’s legality.
Bruno said, “We were able to get a lot of tax data about sales and employment information from the Department of Revenue in Colorado. We took a look at principally what happened in Colorado and used the Colorado experience to set up our assessment and adapt it to Illinois to come up with the estimate.”
Manzo said, “Colorado and Washington, two states (that) were first to legalize marijuana, are both among the top 10 states that people are moving to. Meanwhile, there are people leaving Illinois. The people have spoken and said they’re perfectly fine with moving to states that legalized marijuana.”
This study is good news for Illinois – especially with the election of J.B. Pritzker. Pritzker has already called for the end of marijuana prohibition.