Legalize pot and realize billions in tax revenue. Talk about being wasted -- a government law whose time has come.
Marijuana Could Be a Gusher of Cash If We Treated It Like a Crop, Not a Crime
By Steven Wishnia, AlterNet. Posted September 11, 2008.
Economists estimate tens of billions for governments if we taxed pot like tobacco and stopped wasting money on the drug war.
If marijuana were legal but taxed like alcohol and tobacco, how much money could it bring in to cash-strapped state governments?
One 2006 study called cannabis the top cash crop in the nation, worth more than corn and wheat combined. It was the leading crop in 12 states, outstripping grapes in California and tobacco in North Carolina, and one of the top three in 18 others, coming in just behind apples in Washington and cotton in Georgia. So with states facing massive deficits, could reefer revenues help?
The answer is unclear, but it could be lucrative for governments, especially when combined with the savings from ending prohibition. As the U.S. marijuana market is illegal, there are no sales figures. Estimates of its size range from $10.5 billion a year to $113 billion. But three studies done by economists and policy analysts say ganja taxes could bring in anywhere from $2.4 billion to $31.1 billion in revenue, depending on how big the sales really are. About one-third of that would go to the states.