Will legal marijuana help NJ economy? Here’s what CPAs say
Nearly half of accountants surveyed recently said legalizing adult-use marijuana in New Jersey would help the economy.
New Jersey Society of Certified Public Accountants CEO and Executive Director Ralph Albert Thomas said New Jersey needs additional revenue. And legal marijuana could bring that in without raising existing taxes.
He said the majority of CPAs asked wanted a tax rate of around 12 percent. But he said when you look at the other respondents, a total of 73 percent wanted somewhere between 12 and 25 percent. Only 21 percent favored a 25 percent tax rate on pot sales, like the one Gov. Phil Murphy had proposed.
Still, 20 percent of CPAs surveyed say legalizing adult-use marijuana would hurt New Jersey's economy. Thomas said he thinks they're looking at statistics from other states that show legalizing pot increases car accidents. There's also the issue of individuals in the workforce who have recently used pot.
He also believes that there's an undercurrent that thinks that by legalizing it, there would be more problems in the urban communities.
Twenty-two percent of respondents said legalizing adult-use marijuana would have no impact on the state's economy. Thomas said people are using pot today both for medicinal and recreational reasons already.
"Having some sense of control of this industry would, I think, would give some people a comfort level in that regard," Thomas said.
He also believes the current black market would be impacted if marijuana were to be legalized.
The survey also found that of those who supported the legalization of adult-use marijuana, 80 percent said it would help the economy. Thomas added that only 15 percent who opposed the legalization thought it would help the economy.
"The survey results show that our members, while equally divided over the concept of the legalization of adult-use marijuana, do see a benefit to the state's economy," Thomas said.
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