Marijuana legalization has gotten a lot of media attention, particularly since Colorado, Washington, Alaska, and Oregon decided to legalize everyone’s favorite, previously-illegal drug. While the social issues remain in debate, there are no questions about how legalizing weed helps the economy in those states. Heck, Colorado has even been called a poster child for legal cannabis.
The primary boost that people think of when it comes to legal marijuana is the boost in sales and taxes in those states. Colorado and Washington have each seen hundreds of millions in additional tax revenue according to The Huffington Post, and those numbers are not likely to go away any time soon. When you add in the numbers for pot tourism (people who come to states where marijuana is legal from states where it isn’t) then you see even larger numbers. Last year after Colorado legalized recreational weed they had a huge winter tourism season despite the snow being less than great. I wonder what that was due to. . .
A hidden benefit that comes with legalizing marijuana is all of the costs saved in law enforcement and prosecution. If the United States legalized marijuana it’s been estimated that the government would save over $13 billion! Not only that, but it would severely reduce the prison population in the U.S.
New Businesses and Growth
By legalizing marijuana the government effectively creates a new industry. Marijuana has to be grown, processed, packaged, and sold. Each stage of that process leads to new companies (like us!), job growth (like mine!) and economic competition. Plus, the more products that are added onto the market (pot brownies, cookies, etc.) the more options there are for further economic growth.
A Product People Want
Marijuana is a product that people clearly want, and making it illegal hasn’t stopped the demand for it. By keeping it illegal the government pays billions of dollars on enforcement, and all of the money made on the sale is kept unregulated and untaxed. By legalizing marijuana it helps guarantee a safer product, and it allows people to purchase what they want, and to use it as responsible adults.
And it can go a long way toward balancing the budget and increasing job growth.