Just how much money would legal pot generate?

Posted at 8:11 PM, Oct 02, 2015
and last updated 2015-10-02 20:11:01-04

COLUMBUS — Ohio’s top budget official has weighed in on how much revenue the state can expect if the proposal to legalize marijuana passes in November.

State budget director Tim Keen says legalization could bring in annual tax revenue as high as $293 million, an estimate based on the projection that the new legal market would capture 70 percent of all marijuana sales in Ohio.

ResponsibleOhio, who back the proposal, called this figure low, with their own estimate closer to half a billion dollars each year.

COMPLETE COVERAGE: The race for marijuana in Ohio

But Keen also said in an analysis released Friday that annual revenue could be as low as $133 million, if the new legal market captures only 50 percent of in-state marijuana purchases.

The proposed constitutional amendment — Issue 3, as it will appear on the ballot — would make marijuana legal for adults 21 to use, purchase, or grow in limited quantities.

Critics of the proposal say it would create a monopoly and corner the new legal market, pointing to its call to create a network of 10 grow sites that would hold control over a large majority of marijuana production in the state.