Marijuana legalization (medical and recreational) is currently taking place in many U.S. states. This is a controversial subject for many people, but there has been a growing amount of support for legalization in recent years.
Tens of thousands of people are being arrested, fined, and put into jail for marijuana-related offenses. Many people are beginning to see the benefits of legalizing marijuana or decriminalizing it. Let’s look at some reasons why legalizing marijuana in pro-cannabis states would benefit the economy.
Revenue boost from taxation
Tax revenue is one of the most apparent benefits of legalizing marijuana. Taxing and regulating marijuana would allow governments to impose sales taxes and an excise tax, just like they do with alcohol and tobacco. According to Harvard economist Jeffrey Miron, these taxes are estimated to generate around $8 billion per year if legalized nationally. This could be used to help fund education and reduce the national deficit.
Reduced costs for law enforcement and prisons
Legalizing marijuana could also save government agencies a lot of money because they wouldn’t have to spend their time enforcing anti-marijuana laws anymore. In 2020 alone, police made about 350,150 arrests for simple possession of marijuana. The U.S. spends close to $7 billion per year enforcing marijuana laws, which means that decriminalizing or legalizing the drug could save money and free up funds for other purposes.
Legalization would mean more people would start growing marijuana for sale in dispensaries, which means more jobs growing and selling marijuana in stores. It could also lead to job growth in other areas, such as security and transport services.
Legal weed boosts tourism Legalizing marijuana has undoubtedly spurred tourism in places where it has been legalized. Colorado has experienced increased tourism, which has helped grow its local economy. There are now even cannabis-friendly hotels across the state where people can stay while legally using marijuana.