What Would Medical Marijuana Cost The State? Financial Estimators Unsure

Nov 4, 2013

Marijuana plant

State financial estimators don’t know whether medical marijuana would positively or negatively affect state revenue if voters approve a proposed constitutional amendment legalizing the drug. Summaries explaining the unknown financial impact are ready for the 2014 ballot after estimators concluded their conference Monday afternoon.

Estimators wrestled with wording as they crafted 75-word and 500-word explanations. 

Office of Economic and Demographic Research Coordinator Amy Baker said, “Think about it being on the ballot. What’s the public most likely to identify with there?”

Final summaries say state officials expect no more than 450,000 people would use medical marijuana if it becomes legal. State health department officials say it would cost the state just more than $1 million a year to regulate the industry.  But that’s expected to be at least partially offset by fees collected from marijuana treatment center operators and users. Those fees will likely need legislative approval.

The financial estimates head now to Attorney General Pam Bondi and Secretary of State Ken Detzner.