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The Economics of Legalization

April 6, 2017

 (Photo Credit - David Shankbone)


It's no secret that marijuana legalization brings in the dough. As we're already seeing in the states that are reaping the rewards of legalization marijuana for recreational use, the marijuana industry is a huge cash cow and can do wonders for the economy. Let's break down the economic effects that marijuana legalization has on the places that allow it. 


1. If the US legalized marijuana on a federal level, it could save a whopping $13.7 billion a year. Of that 13.7 billion, 7.7 billion would come from removing the law enforcement maintaining the prohibition and the remaining 6 billion would come from tax revenues if the government taxed weed the same as alcohol or nicotine. If you think I'm lying, let's take a look at Colorado who, just in 2016, accrued over $1 billion in tax revenue. That's Colorado alone people...in one year. 


2. The US would save $1 Billion a year by removing marijuana offenders from prisons. In 2015, 643,121 people were arrested for marijuana charges. Removing those people from the incarceration epidemic in the US would free up resources and space for offenders deserving jail time. The $1 Billion saved by removing marijuana offenders is, sadly, a small drop in the water of the war on drug's cost, which is a staggering $51 billion annually.


3. Marijuana is one of the most valuable cash crops around. California, the US's largest agricultural exporter, found that marijuana, of all things, was the state's most profitable crop. California made $14 billion per year in sales of marijuana produced in the state. Compare that to California's second largest cash crop, milk and cream, which makes just $7.3 billion a year in sales. 


4. The legal marijuana sector currently employs over 150,00 people in the states where it's legal. That number could double or even triple in the next few years as more states join the recreational revolution.


5. Every dollar spent in the marijuana industry generates between $2.13 and $2.40 in economic activity. That means that the marijuana industry is stimulating growth in the surrounding industries. Every surrounding industry, from food, to transportation services, to banking and tourism, benefit from marijuana legalization. The only economic activity that has a higher multiplier than the marijuana industry is federal government spending. 


Legalizing recreational marijuana has proven to be an economic miracle for the states that have gone through with the reform process. These five economic benefits barely even scratch the service of what industrial hemp could do to the American economy, let alone recreational weed. 


As the US national debt climbs and climbs, the government may have to come to terms with the fact that the prohibition on one of the most lucrative crops can't last forever. 




Now read about why marijuana gives you the munchies

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