Economic Cost of Cannabis Prohibition

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Our society is coming to realize that the economic cost of cannabis prohibition has outweighed all previous goals of the program and for such an institute to continue to enforce laws that will never solve the problem a detriment to our economic system. Taxpayers are paying billions each year in enforcement cost and also losing billions of dollars in missed opportunities (In taxes, profits, and wages). We have come to realize that it is no longer a law enforcement issue it’s an economic issue. The total amount of money spent battling cannabis use directly and indirectly is astronomical. “Federal taxpayers spend far more per year to house one inmate ($ 23000) than to educate one child( $8000).”. “The department of justice budget grew over 800 percent between 1981-2002 compared to the department of education which only grew 285 percent. The growth disparity is continuing. “ It cost more to send a person to prison for four years than it does to send a person to a four year university.” “ At the end of 2001 there were an estimated 1.2 million nonviolent offenders locked up in America at a cost of $24 billion annually.” Total Cost to taxpayers of marijuana- related incarceration reached more than $1.2 billion per year. This does not include the cost of investigating, arresting, and prosecuting the hundreds of thousands of marijuana users arrested each year” “the total number of drug prisoners represented 20.7 percent of the state and 62.6 percent of the federal inmate populations…” A conservative figure of $24,848,134,000 is the retail sale of cannabis in America. The majority of this money goes directly into the black-market. If cannabis were legalized the price would decline and an estimated 17 billion in government revenues would be a reasonable number. This is not a full economic model of the cost of cannabis prohibition nor is it a complete illustration of the

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