North Carolina stands to reap nearly $65 million annually if it approves the medical marijuana market proposed in a current state Senate bill, according to a new financial analysis of the measure.
The report by HedgeRow Analysis concluded that if Senate Bill 3 – the North Carolina Compassionate Care Act, which would establish a functional MMJ market – were to be signed into law, the state could expect $64.6 million in annual tax revenue and $648 million in annual sales once the market reaches full maturity.
That would be higher annual sales than the MMJ state markets of Arkansas, Connecticut, Minnesota, Ohio, New Jersey, North Dakota, and Utah, HedgeRow calculated. In its first year of operations, however, HedgeRow estimated only about $15 million in sales per month for North Carolina, or a total of about $180 million for the year.
HedgeRow also estimated that rural dispensaries in North Carolina would see significantly less revenue – between $5 million and $9 million annually – than those located in urban centers – $8 million-$14 million annually.
SB 3 still has a long way to go before the legislative session adjourns at the end of August, however. The bill still must be approved by the GOP-dominated state House of Representatives, where it’s still waiting for a hearing to be scheduled. The Senate approved the bill two and a half months ago.
Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper also has made his support for legalizing medical marijuana clear.
If it does get signed into law as currently structured, the state would still have a very restrictive MMJ program, with only 10 business licenses available for vertically integrated companies, each of which would be allowed up to eight storefront dispensaries, for a maximum of 80 dispensaries statewide.
Some Democrats have voiced concern that the market structure is too narrow, since it wouldn’t allow for small business opportunities like craft cultivation.
It’s also unclear just how many patients the market would be able to attract, since the list of qualifying conditions doesn’t include some of the most widely used ailments such as chronic pain, arthritis, glaucoma, and many others.
However, the measure does include the following “debilitating medical conditions”:
- Crohn’s disease
- Sickle cell anemia
- Parkinson’s disease
- Multiple sclerosis
- Cachexia or wasting syndrome
- Terminal illness with life expectancy of no more than six months
- Other conditions related to the receipt of hospice care