Friday, April 23, 2010

Medical marijuana, by the numbers

Posted By on Fri, Apr 23, 2010 at 12:30 PM

During Monday's Marijuana Education Day on the UM campus, Tayln Lang from Zoo Mountain Natural Care and the Missoula Ethical Caregivers Association (MECA) made a presentation on the industry's impact on the local economy. The numbers are pretty interesting.

From the report:

● Total rent paid by MECA members monthly: $25,600
● Total power paid by MECA members monthly: $8,000+
● Initial start-up cost of MECA members (lights, wiring, furniture,
pots, CO2, legal fees, etc.): $337,972+
● Monthly advertising spent by MECA members: $7000+
● Monthly payroll of MECA members (Approx. 30 employees
included): $31,740+
● Monthly misc. recurring expenses (phone, insurance, etc.): $3,200 +

Approximate total of money spent by MECA members in the state and local economy since Jan. 1, 2010: $640,132.

Lang's presentation continued to "future projections." This part stuck out:

Montanans consume about 30,000 lbs of marijuana a year.

That estimate is based on California NORML’s solid scientific review of government data, adjusted for Montana’s much smaller population (1 million compared to 36 million) but slightly higher usage rate (86,000 adults (12%), compared to California’s 11%). Many people are understandably hesitant to volunteer information on government surveys about their law-breaking activities, so these usage estimates are probably low.

Roughly 24,000 pounds is consumed by Montana’s 17,000 daily users —an average of about half an ounce a week.

Now suppose that all our 30,000 lbs were sold in legal shops as one-ounce packages, each with a $50 excise tax.

That would be $24,000,000 in direct tax revenues. Now imagine licensing fees for producers and retailers, payroll taxes, additional jobs created, etc. Adding to this benefit would be the money saved by State and local law enforcement, courts, and the penal system by no longer pursuing marijuana cases. In California's case the net gain to the state is expected to be $2.3 billion/year.

I know these numbers haven't been totally vetted, but $24 million dollars is no small chunk of change, and may be the type of figure that changes some minds about the industry.

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