Economists: Marijuana Prohibition Costs Billions, Would Earn Billions


Over 300 economists, including three Nobel Laureates, recently signed a petition that encourages the president, Congress, governors and state legislatures to carefully consider marijuana legalization in America. The petition draws attention to an article by Harvard economist Jeffrey Miron, whose findings highlight the substantial cost-savings our government could incur if it were to tax and regulate marijuana, rather than needlessly spending billions of dollars enforcing its prohibition. Miron predicts that legalizing marijuana would save $7.7 billion per year in government expenditure on enforcement, in addition to generating $2.4 billion annually if taxed like most consumer goods, or $6 billion per year if taxed similarly to alcohol and tobacco. The economists signing the petition note that the budgetary implications of marijuana prohibition are just one of many factors to be considered, but declare it essential that these findings become a serious part of the national decriminalization discussion.

The advantages of marijuana legalization extend far beyond an opportunity to make a dent in our federal deficit. The criminalization of marijuana is one of the many fights in the War on Drugs that has failed miserably. And while it’s tempting to associate only the harder, “scarier” drugs with this botched crusade, the fact remains that marijuana prohibition is very much a part of the battle. The federal government has even classified marijuana as a Schedule 1 substance (its most serious category of substances), placing it in a more dangerous category than cocaine. More than 800,000 people are arrested for marijuana use and possession each year, and 46 percent of all drug prosecutions across the country are for marijuana possession. Yet this costly and time-consuming targeting of marijuana users by law enforcement and lawmakers has done little to quell use of the drug.

The criminalization of marijuana has not only resulted in a startlingly high number of arrests, it also reflects the devastating disparate racial impact of the War on Drugs. Despite ample evidence that marijuana is used more frequently by white people, Blacks and Latinos account for a grossly disproportionate percentage of the 800,000 people arrested annually for marijuana use and possession. These convictions hinder one’s ability to find or keep employment, vote or gain access to affordable housing. The fact that these hard-to-shake consequences – bad enough as they are — are suffered more frequently by a demographic that uses marijuana less makes our current policies toward marijuana all the more unfair, unwise and unacceptable.

News Hawk: Jim Behr: 420 MAGAZINE
Source: Democratic Underground
Author: Ezekiel Edwards, Criminal Law Reform Project & Rebecca McCray, Criminal Law Reform
Copyright: Democratic Underground, LLC.
Contact: Contact Us – Democratic Underground
Website: Hundreds of Economists: Marijuana Prohibition Costs Billions, Legalization Would Earn Billions


  1. Economist need all country for their solving economical problem .In modern technology in worldwide face economical problem increase in highly.  So all of people of a country should help to government remove crimilinization for economical growth.

  2. But more precisely. It was a bill that was passed in the early 1900s…hmm forgot which US president it was…got together with other companies such as cotton, paper, textiles and such. It was quite a few handful of major companies that were the building blocks of US economy since the Boston Tea Party (figure of speech). Otherwise that really helped to build US economy at the time, had a dilemma which was cannabis (real name) to marijuana (slave name lol)…this plant was going to put them all out of business. Example, paper is made using wood…the cannabis can quadruple that amount for every pound and the life cycle is only 4 months compared to trees being 7 years. This would result a huge shift in the industry that some cannot even afford or just to lazy lol. Its like this in laymans’ term, if I had friends that helped me out to make a tree house that we all can live in. Then I found better friends that can make the tree house even greater…it would be a moral decision…then I would have to choose the people that helped me build the tree house in beginning. Like asking favor for a favor. And there is nothing wrong with that..looking out for people that looked out for you. Since the favor is repaid a long time ago and the economy to be essentially open…I think its time to change economy by changing the rules. the economy will improve by just thinking about it. LOL. Some might know what i mean. The rules that govern it are old and don’t apply to present conditions. Let legalizing marij…sorry cannibis…be the first. And really re-open those cob webbed dusty old files on amazing applications it can bring. It would be its main cash crop. Forget corn, wheat..etc…this is the ultimate bio-mass fuel. Being stuck in traffic with all the cars might not be so bad after all :p.  Just joking…i don’t think using cannabis in cars are going to happen some time soon. Or even using it as an alternate fuel. But right now…they need a resource that can be  made in 4 months and be distributed in mass amounts. The only resource that can touch and boost all sectors. But I don’t think is a conspiracy at all if everyone is thinking about that. Unless you live in world that is static, you are bound for hypocrisy. 

  3. Larger plants ,smaller government, the idea works for me.It is just a simple addition and subtraction solution. Y must our government oversee our personal time as long as no harm is done. Are they to protect our shores or is it to big now ,to say what it for ? Let the states have their rights voted my the American people…

  4. Its the truth! Politician are trying to enforce the law more towards marijuana users. They consider this substance more dangerous than other narcotics that causes massive overdoses. Cocaine is probably the top of the list next to heroin, and crystal meth. Even if they do legalize it there is always those who will ruin it for everybody else. Like for example, jobs these day require three things in order to be employed. First, it is very important to know the position your applying for. Nobody will hire you if you don’t know what you are doing! Second, knowing what the company is about well likely get hire you. In a interview employers like hearing people that know what the company is about that tells them that your passionate, self motivated and driven to do your best. Then the back breaker a piss test. We all know at least one who flunked a drug test or cant pass it when needed. I strongly believe whatever you do in your own time hey that’s your business. If I wanted to smoke a joint after work kicking back at my porch then let it be. But like I said there is always someone out there who bring a joint to work not thinking responsibly not worried if they hurt themselves or worse someone else. I also believe that legalizing marijuana not only make money but bring up the employment percentage. Some of the best workers I ever worked with smoked pot then failed a drug test. Don’t matter if your the best in everything you’re no good if your stuck at home. That’s what I think I’m more then sure there is many out there who feel the same