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Over 300 Economists Agree: It’s Time to Legalize Marijuana

  • by Erik Altieri, NORML Communications Director April 17, 2012

    Over 300 economists have signed on to an open letter to the President, Congress, Governors, and State Legislators asking them to allow this “country to commence an open and honest debate about marijuana prohibition.” The petition states that the undersigned “believe such a debate will favor a regime in which marijuana is legal but taxed and regulated like other goods.”

    Notably, three of the economists who have already signed on are Nobel Laureates. Three hundred plus additional economic scholars have already signed on, you can view the list and more details here. Full text of the petition letter is below:

    We, the undersigned, call your attention to the attached report by Professor Jeffrey A. Miron, The Budgetary Implications of Marijuana Prohibition. The report shows that marijuana legalization — replacing prohibition with a system of taxation and regulation — would save $7.7 billion per year in state and federal expenditures on prohibition enforcement and produce tax revenues of at least $2.4 billion annually if marijuana were taxed like most consumer goods. If, however, marijuana were taxed similarly to alcohol or tobacco, it might generate as much as $6.2 billion annually.

    The fact that marijuana prohibition has these budgetary impacts does not by itself mean prohibition is bad policy. Existing evidence, however, suggests prohibition has minimal benefits and may itself cause substantial harm.

    We therefore urge the country to commence an open and honest debate about marijuana prohibition. We believe such a debate will favor a regime in which marijuana is legal but taxed and regulated like other goods. At a minimum, this debate will force advocates of current policy to show that prohibition has benefits sufficient to justify the cost to taxpayers, foregone tax revenues, and numerous ancillary consequences that result from marijuana prohibition.

    You can view media coverage of this effort here.

    92 Responses to “Over 300 Economists Agree: It’s Time to Legalize Marijuana”

    1. Paul Pot says:

      The end of prohibition has begun.
      It won’t be long now till the wall comes crashing down.
      Support ballot initiatives to legalize marijuana.
      Legalize! Apologize! Compensate!

    2. seth forbis says:

      that graph is just a graphic dude, doesn’t have anything to do with the story, which you would know if you had read more than the first two lines, or even looked at the graph…you should spend less time smoking pot and more time reading!

    3. Leigha says:

      The link isn’t working

    4. Leigha says:

      the first one, at least

    5. hanspy says:

      Special when its about MONEY ,,, wasted money.

    6. Dave K, Phoenix, AZ says:

      This does not take into account the costs associated with children being put in foster care or taken out of their homes because a parent was arrested for marijuana. This does not take into account the costs of the family going on public assistance for food and healthcare because the breadwinner has been jailed. This does not include the continuing costs to taxpayers because the breadwinner is a convict and unemployable when they get out of jail. Arrest and incarceration are only a part of the costs associated with marijuana prohibition.

    7. Phil says:

      When your country spends trillions on a war, billions combating drugs, and $800,000 on a weekend getaway to Las Vegas, I doubt the idea of saving $7.7 billion and generating anywhere from $2.4 billion to $6.2 billion is going to do much good. Couple this with the fact that large industries, namely the tobacco and alcohol industry, are in ever Congressman’s ear saying ‘Here’s a few million to keep marijuana illegal, so we don’t have to compete with it’.

    8. Chad says:

      I agree, prohibition advocates need to prove why cannabis prohibition should be continued. Most Americans are tired of government waste, and prohibition is the biggest waste of it all.

    9. Chad says:

      I agree, prohibition advocates need to prove why cannabis prohibition should be continued. Most Americans are tired of government waste and prohibition is a monumental waste of tax dollars.

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