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New independent studies by the BERL (Business and Economic Research Limited) indicate that Cannabis could be a big step to boosting New Zealand’s economy. Unlike tourism, which needs time to develop a market, the cannabis market already exists and would just displace income from illegal to legal sources, while generating much-needed tax income.

Cannabis for COVID Recovery

A stunning 14% of the New Zealand workforce is in tourism, a sector that has taken a massive hit (not the kind of “hit” we usually talk about) with COVID 19. Estimated losses in tourism are between 92,000 and 130,000 jobs. Tourism-reliant job losses could reach 400,000 losses. The estimated losses in revenue are projected to be $13 billion dollars.

Cannabis could be a big step to recovering from COVID 19 for New Zealand. A new independent study conducted by BERL projects that if a legal cannabis market is established, it could bring in 1.1 billion dollars in tax revenue and generate 5000 new jobs. Currently, the illegal market produces about 74 tonnes of cannabis, but a legal market would see a short term 29% people get curious about legal cannabis. BERL projects that number will drop as time passes, which is a trend seen in every other legal market in the world. The long term revenue would stay thanks to the high tax proposed for Cannabis.

Opposition Unswayed by Economic Benefits

Considering the COVID relief package costs $12 billion dollars, those concerned about future deficits can see the value of generating a new tax income stream but opposition still isn’t swayed. “Concern for children” and “the government shouldn’t make money out of drugs” are cited as top concerns for those against the referendum. Studies in Canada and America have both cited that youth use in Cannabis drops after legalisation.

“This cannabis bill is the one subject that conservatives and convicts are on the same side of. They both want to vote “no”. The convicts don’t want regulation in their industry and the conservatives think its evil.”

T.J. Irvin, Hemp grower and Cannabis advocate. “Conversations in Cannabis”

More Tax Funds for Addiction Services

This study found that $675million dollars would be channeled into programs helping people with addiction, programs that aren’t currently well funded. Currently, $150 million is being spent on alcohol addiction, which indicates that legalising could fund all addiction services easily.

Jacinda Ardern has made effort to reinforce that the BERL findings are not the government findings. As an independent review, the BERL findings do more than suggest that cannabis could be beneficial for New Zealand, they actually put hard economic projections behind the 2020 Referendum, making the road forward much more clear (and economically beneficial) for New Zealand.

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