WASHINGTON DC – As the economic damage from the coronavirus pandemic piles up, U.S. cities and states are set to face significant lost revenue given the loss of business activity.

But, as DataTrek Research’s Jessica Rabe writes in a note, “there’s a simple and effective solution for states and cities to help cover their huge budget shortfalls after the COVID-19 pandemic subsides: legalize recreational sales of marijuana.”

New York, the epicenter of COVID-19 cases in the U.S., might see a revenue drop of $4 billion to $7 billion compared to what it was expecting, according to the state comptroller. With a budget of $87.9 billion, that’s significant.

“We’ve been thinking a lot about how life will change post-virus, and one big difference will be that state and local governments are going to encounter large unexpected tax receipt shortages,” Rabe wrote. “That’s particularly true when it comes to sales and income taxes amid stressed consumer balance sheets and massive layoffs. And unlike the Federal government, states can’t print unlimited amounts of money.”

Legalization of cannabis for adults, Rabe points out, could be a really easy way to shore up tax basis without driving people out of state, as raising income tax might do. Already it has been successful at raising “hundreds of millions of dollars annually in states like Colorado,” she said. There are currently 11 states with legalized recreational cannabis and another 15 that have decriminalized the drug in one way or another.

For more information, click on https://finance.yahoo.com/news/coronavirus-could-accelerate-us-cannabis-legalization-153011559.html