Study Makes Argument to Legalize It
A new study by Jon B. Gettmen of the Marijuana Policy Institute claims the government coffers in the U.S. are shy $41.8 billion because of laws prohibiting the growing, sale and possession of marijuana.
According to the study, which cites FBI crime statistics, there were nearly 830,000 marijuana related arrests in 2006 up from 786,545 in 2005. That figure represents 5.54 percent of all arrests in the U.S., costing taxpayers $10.7 billion.
The government, according to the study, loses an additional $31.1 billion in tax revenues as the business of selling marijuana is handled outside the traditional economy. The study points out that the lost taxes on marijuana exceed the 28.7 percent amount of the Gross National Product (GNP) that currently goes to federal, local and state governments.
Rob Kampia, executive director of the Marijuana Policy Project, said in a press release, “Prohibition has done nothing to reduce marijuana use, which remains at about the level it’s been for decades, but prohibition has created a massive underground economy that’s completely unregulated and untaxed. The parallels with Alcohol Prohibition in the 1920s, including the needless violence and a huge underground economy, are eerie.”
The Marijuana Policy Project advocates policy reform that would have the government regulate marijuana in a similar fashion to alcohol.
Discussion Questions: Is it time for the government to legalize marijuana and regulate it in a similar fashion to alcoholic beverages? What would legalized marijuana mean for the retailing industry? Would retailers be able to put safeguards in place to responsibly handle the sale of marijuana?
- Study Shows Marijuana Laws Cost Taxpayers $41.8 Billion Per Year – Marijuana Policy Project
- Marijuana Arrests Set New Record for 4th Year in a Row, Exceed All Violent Crimes Combined – Marijuana Policy Project