LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — Responsible Growth Arkansas (RGA) commissioned economists at the Arkansas Economic Development Institute (AEDI) to conduct an economic analysis of the Arkansas Adult Use Cannabis Amendment (AAUCA) – a proposed constitutional amendment on the November ballot.
“The measurable economic impact of introducing an adult-use marijuana market, including economic activity diverted from illicit markets, is estimated to increase state gross domestic product (GDP) by up to $2.36 billion over five years and increase employment of up to 6,400 jobs by 2027,” stated Michael R. Pakko, Ph.D., Chief Economist and State Economic Forecaster for AEDI.
“The net increase that we see is about $290 million for the new regime relative to better medical marijuana only,” he added.
The AEDI’s report details the research findings, which covers a five-year forecast period from 2023 to 2027. In addition to increasing Arkansas’ GDP and creating thousands of new jobs, the AAUCA generates over $303.6 million in supplemental sales tax revenue.
Pakko said the sales tax revenue from recreational marijuana would be an increase from the medical marijuana revenue.
The AAUCA dedicates $45.5 million for law enforcement, $30.4 million for the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS), and $15.2 million for drug courts. The remaining $212.5 million is available for general revenue.
“Well-funded police departments are critical for our local communities. As a former Sheriff, I am proud to support and vote for the Arkansas Adult Use Cannabis Amendment, aka Issue 4,” said Lance Huey, RGA Vice Chairman and former law enforcement official. “Issue 4 will keep our communities and children safer by providing much-needed funding for law enforcement and drug courts.”
“We are officially on the ballot and have a great story to tell the voters of Arkansas. Voters can create a new adult-use cannabis industry by voting FOR issue 4 on November 8th. Issue 4 will provide Arkansans with thousands of new good-paying jobs and hundreds of millions in new tax revenue,” said Eddie Armstrong, Responsible Growth Arkansas Chairman.
Armstrong told KNWA/FOX 24 that the tax revenue will benefit all Arkansans.
“We want to be able to be a part of providing the adequate funding needed for cancer research, and more importantly, creating a new job economy here,” Armstrong said.
If the amendment passes, there will be a 16.5% sales tax to buy recreational marijuana.