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Liu: Legalize Pot to Help NYC Youth

by Jeff Coltin
A A
Bowl of Marijuana

Blind Nomad, flickr

The City Comptroller and Mayoral Candidate says it'll save over $400 Million.

John Liu wants to legalize pot to help the city's youth. The New York City Comptroller and democratic mayoral candidate released a report on Wednesday saying legalizing and taxing marijuana would garner the city more than $400 million each year. He said the extra money could be used to lower tuition at CUNY schools.

The report also stated legalization would keep minor offenders out the criminal justice system by curbing arrests and the social damage they cause.

The Comptroller's Chief Economist Frank Braconi admitted studying the money behind marijuana is an inexact science.

"The revenue numbers are best guesses because it's an illegal market," he said. "You're guessing about its dimensions."

But, Braconi said the published numbers were a conservative estimate, and didn't even include the money saved from incarceration and other factors.

Legalization is ultimately Albany's decision. A more limited medical marijuana bill passed the Assembly this June but was never taken up by the Senate.

Still, Braconi hopes state lawmakers notice the report.

"We would be delighted if they used our analysis," he said, "And we'd be thoroughly happy to discuss it with staff and ways of improving it."

Liu's proposal allows those aged 21 and over to possess up to one ounce of marijuana for personal use.

Link to the full report.

More on legalization from NPR.

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