Minot, N.D. — With North Dakota set to debate a ballot measure legalizing recreational marijuana this year, we’re going to be spending a lot of time talking about what legalization would mean for things like public safety and employment.
What may get overlooked is what moving the marijuana market from the shadows of the black market into the light of lawful commerce could mean in terms of revenue for our state and communities.
It’s a difficult thing to quantify. We don’t really have any good data for how large North Dakota’s marijuana market would be. We know there’s a black market, but we can only guess at how big it is, and then there are all the people who would start using marijuana once it becomes legal. Also, the measure on the ballot doesn’t set a tax on recreational marijuana sales. That will be up to state lawmakers.
But we do have an example we can look to.