At a recent meeting of the Winston-Salem City Council, Tim Lounsbury, a Winston-Salem resident and deputy director of NC NORML asked local leaders to sign on to a resolution supporting the legalization of medical cannabis. Cannabis is currently legal in 29 states and in Washington, D.C. After much consideration, I have concluded that if we want to increase the state and local tax bases, address the escalating opioid crisis, and promote bi-partisan criminal justice reform, North Carolina should consider medical cannabis.
The potential financial gains for state and local governments through increased retail sales, payroll and business taxes are staggering. Cannabis is projected to infuse over $130 billion into US tax coffers by 2025. Colorado, for example, raked in over $1.5 billion dollars in 2017 and collected just under $250 million in taxes and fees. As legislators in the NC General Assembly continue to stall on approving a bill that would allow for the use of medical cannabis, taxpayers will continue to miss out on the surplus revenues that would create jobs, increase teacher salaries, and fund desperately needed infrastructure