Benefits Of Legalizing Marijuana University Of Houston / Health Economics Essay

1712 words - 7 pages

They are running an underground gold mine and the government hasn't been getting a penny of the proceeds. In fact, the government and taxpayers spend between 20 and 25 billion dollars a year (Osler, 2012), on prosecuting dealers and incarcerating those who possess marijuana. But facts are facts and this is how America works. It may be for this reason that voters in Washington and Colorado decided to legalize marijuana. On November 7, 2012, state legislators in both Washington and Colorado passed an initiative and an amendment, respectively, to allow for the possession, distribution, and private recreational use of cannabis.
From an economic perspective, there would be numerous benefits to legalizing marijuana. The states expect to see a rapid decline in arrests for marijuana possession, saving money from the reduced need for law enforcement for marijuana prohibition. This proves to potentially save Colorado alone an average of $40.1 million, (Stiffler, 2012), in costs associated with incarceration.
Not only will the economic impact of legalization of marijuana help save the government on law enforcement expenses, but it will also encompass the possibility of large sums of revenue from the market supply and demand of the newly legalized product, generating an impressive profit from sales tax. As a new industry emerges within the workforce, desperately needed employment opportunities will arise across the country, stimulating the economy by initially providing 4,200 new jobs (Fottrell, 2012). It will also help upsurge our Gross Domestic Product (GDP), as more goods will be produced and retailed.
The economic impact of the legalization of marijuana covers many aspects of the economy. In Mark Osler's "U.S. Should Honor States' New Pot Laws - CNN.com", Osler discusses the conflict that arises from a state passing a law that contradicts a federal law. He examines the sides of both the proponents and opponents to the federal government cracking down on drug use in Colorado and Washington. Osler goes in depth about how the federalists support the States and want the government to leave them alone to govern their states how they choose, and how the moralists would like to see the federal government enforce the federal narcotics laws despite the voter's decisions in the states. The article also analyses how harder drugs deliver a lesser punishment than more minor drugs and how drug laws in the past have done little to permanently curb drug use.
.As stated before, the economic impact of illegal marijuana comes at an expense to us all. This expense is obtained from the costs associated with cracking down on those who are buying and selling drugs, prosecuting them in the courts, and providing food and shelter for them in jail cells. According to Mark Osler, the amount that has gone towards these efforts has been between 20 and 25 billion dollars a year for the past decade (Osler, 2012). When breaking these figures down, it is revealed that, "12.4% of federal...

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