Holy Smoke! Pot Legalization Could Save U.S. Economy $13.7 Billion Per Year

300 economists, including three Nobel laureates have signed a petition urging the United States Government to pay attention to the findings of Harvard economist Jeffrey Miron. Miron’s paper suggests that if the Federal Government were to legalize marijuana they would save more than $7.7 billion dollars per year not having to enforce the prohibition of the plant. The report went even further to suggest that at tax rates similar to alcohol and tobacco the government would make an additional $6 billion dollars per year.

That’s more than $13 billion dollars a year!

The economists were careful not to openly advocate for the legalization of pot they want the people in government to have an open and fair debate on it.

The Petition says,

“At a minimum, this debate will force advocates of current policy to show that prohibition has benefits sufficient to justify the cost to taxpayers, foregone tax revenues, and numerous ancillary consequences that result from marijuana prohibition,”

Anti-prohibitionists have long argued that economically legalizing pot made a lot more sense than keeping it illegal. Officials in California have already tried to legalize but did not succeed. California Democratic State Assemblyman Tom Ammiano proposed legislation in 2009 to legalize marijuana in California, arguing that it would yield billions of dollars in tax revenue for a state in dire need of funds. California voters ultimately knocked down a referendum to legalize marijuana in 2010.

Economist Stephen Easton wrote in Businessweek that the financial benefits of pot legalization may be even bigger than Miron’s findings estimate. Based on a larger analysis of costs of growing, marketing and the consumption rates of current users Easton estimates revenues of $45 to $100 billion per year.

Arguments have been made that the point of the economists have already been made in States that have legalized Marijuana for medical reasons. The State of Colorado has seen the economies of Denver and Boulder rising steadily since the drug was cleared for medical consumption.

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