Thursday, May 31

The cost of the war against marijuana - the devil weed

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The cost of the war against marijuana

It is well known that Americans illegally consume about 31 million pounds of marijuana every year at an estimated retail cost of $3,570 per pound.

That adds up to an expenditure of nearly $111 billion annually, all of it going into an underground economy that remains untaxed by the federal government.

Hello, McFly???

According to the federal Office of Management and Budget: 28.7% of the gross domestic product ends up in the government’s hands as tax revenue.

The underground economic diversion of money into the marijuana market subsequently costs the government, and you and I as tax paying citizens, $31.7 billion annually in tax revenue that should be generated from marijuana related transactions if they were conducted legally.

Marijuana arrests account for 5.54% of all arrests in the United States, which spends $193 billion annually on its criminal justice system. As such, marijuana arrests account for $10.7 billion annually in criminal justice expenses. The average prisoner costs the taxpayers $33,615 a year to imprison and each one on average costs $9,412 just for their health benefits.

The FBI says that marijuana crimes account for 45.6% of all drug arrests.

Add it all up, and marijuana prohibition costs the US roughly $41.8 billion every year according to a 2007 estimate by public policy researcher Jon B. Gettman, Ph.D.

We could forgo the costs of marijuana enforcement and effectively deploy our policing assets elsewhere.

Max Chaiken, a graduating economics major at Brown wrote a senior thesis which finds that “a legally taxed and regulated marijuana market could generate upwards of $200 billion annually in excise tax revenues for the federal government.” The thesis is dated April 17, 2009 and can be reviewed here.

In November of 2009, the U.S. law enforcement made its 20 millionth marijuana arrest since 1965.

20 Million arrests and almost 90 percent of teens today report that pot is “fairly easy” or “very easy” to obtain, and nearly one out of two graduating high-school seniors admit to having tried it.

Just ask 3 of the most recent Presidents if they have seen or tried it.

Click here to read Part I of this article: Could marijuana and industrial hemp feed our starving economy?

Click here to read Part II of this article: What about industrial hemp and the value it could add to our economic situation?

Click here to read Part III of this article: What about industrial hemp and the value it could add to our economic situation?

Click here to read Part IV of this article: The Economic Case for Legalization and Decriminalization of Marijuana

That's all well and good, but didn't we make this stuff illegal for a good reason in the first place?

The decision of the United States Congress to pass the 1937 Marijuana Tax Act was based in part on testimony derived from articles in newspapers owned by William Randolph Hearst, who, some authors stress, had significant financial interests in the forest industry, which manufactured his newsprint.

SOURCES: The US CDC, NORML, Max Chaiken's thesis: Brown University, Social Jewstice (Max Chaiken's Blog), Green Change, "Open For Questions" Town Hall Transcript, The Telegraph, The Independent, WikiPedia

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