States' Revenue from Legalized Marijuana Significant but Not Game Changing

Those in attendance at the "Growing Green: Marijuana Policy Impacts on State Budgets"  session at the CSG National Conference heard that states have collected what they characterized as significant but not game changing revenues. Friednash and Todd, both from Colorado, the first state to legalize sales of recreational marijuana, reinforced that marijuana revenues are but a sliver of overall state revenues. In his presentation, economist Beau Whitney presented estimates of other economic impacts of marijuana legalization including jobs creation and economic multipliers. Rep. Rogers said he believed the biggest argument for regulation is that people will continue to use the substance even absent legalization and legalization provides for product safety and state revenues as the black market disappears. 

Doug Friednash, Attorney, Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, Denver  Slides here. 

With a deep background in the public and private sectors, Friednash represents clients in a wide range of industries with issues related to public policy and government affairs. He most recently served as chief of staff to Colorado Gov. Hickenlooper as the state passed and implemented policies to legalize recreational marijuana. He was city attorney in Denver where he was also involved in crafting local marijuana laws and regulations. Friednash served two terms in the Colorado House of Representatives in the 1990s.

Dave Rogers, Massachusetts State Representative  Slides here.

Rogers was a chief advocate for the legalization of marijuana and a bill he sponsored was used as the model for the voter referendum language approved in Nov. 2016. He has been a member of the legislature since 2012. As a member of the steering committee of the House Progressive, he plays an active role in shaping public policy goals and formulating legislative strategy to help advance those goals. He is a lawyer and has worked on Capitol Hill and in the Clinton White House.

Nancy Todd, Colorado State Senator

Todd was elected to the Colorado House in 2005 where she served as assistant minority leader. In 2012 she successfully ran for the Senate. Todd is a retired school teacher and serves as a member of the Senate Education Committee. She has been Chair of CSG West and is the immediate past chair of Women in Government.

Beau Whitney, Vice President and Senior Economist, New Frontier Data  Slides here.

Whitney has a unique blend of high tech business operations skills, economics and political analysis, as well as cannabis industry experiences. He provides policy recommendations at the state and national levels and is considered an authority on cannabis economics. He is the former chief operations officer and compliance officer of one of the largest vertically integrated, publicly traded cannabis companies in North America. His experiences incorporated growing, extraction, edible manufacturing, supply chain management and wholesale and retail distribution operations.

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