Legalize marijuana to ease budget deficit

April 13, 2020

I read with interest your article of April 6, “Pandemic may cost state $500M in revenue.”

We can easily recoup 10 percent of that loss by passing HB 110 to legalize cannabis for adult use.  I reach this estimate by combining projected revenue from cannabis sales with savings from the over $20M Delaware spends annually prosecuting possession offenses.  

This estimate does not include additional revenue from increased jobs and secondary businesses needed by the nascent cannabis industry.  States to recently legalize show that revenue from sales may exceed projections. As a legalization activist, I don’t believe that revenue is the primary reason for legalization, but revenue is not insignificant in a time of budgetary need.  Cannabis should be legalized because the electorate strongly favors ending its unjust prohibition.

Indeed, the Legislature also favors legalization: HB 110 has had majority support, but has yet to garner the 60% support constitutionally required of bills affecting revenue.   In addition to revenue, legalization creates jobs and businesses, increases public and consumer safety, frees criminal justice resources, and finally ends the unjust, racially biased policies of failed prohibition.

We have at our disposal a win/win situation.  We can enact policy that the electorate favors while simultaneously raising revenue in a time of deficit. Our legislators should act quickly to pass HB 110.

Mark Jacobs

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