Study: Legal weed doesn’t provide ‘value’ for roughly a third of metro, rural counties



(The Center Square) – A new study weighs the pros and cons of recreational marijuana for Illinois counties.

The analysis, entitled “The Costs and Benefits of Recreational Cannabis Legalization in Illinois,” examines the “value” of cannabis to Illinois counties since the state legalized marijuana in 2020.

Costs, the denominator of the equation, was measured as health-care costs for combating cannabis use disorder among the population. The analysis compares treatment costs to tax revenues to determine if getting into the marijuana business was worth it.

“An average, annual per person cost to treat a person with cannabis use disorder is around $1,700,” researcher Adee Athiyaman of the Illinois Institute of Rural Affairs said.

Research indicates that 10% of the people who have ever smoked marijuana become addicted to the drug.

The typical or median cannabis tax revenue for the metro region is just over $991,000. The median tax revenue for a rural non metro area is $209,000, one-fifth of the metro value.

Athiyaman adds that if treatment costs are running too high, then a public service campaign may be in order.

“The trying behavior should be stopped and that means education at a very young age starting from junior high,” Athiyaman said.

The study suggests that recreational cannabis legalization doesn’t provide “value” for 35% of the metro counties and one-in-three of rural counties.

Illinois takes in more tax revenue from marijuana than any other state but California, pulling in $562 million last year.



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