COLUMN: Taxing marijuana would benefit the United States economically
A fresh take
Published: Wednesday, October 9, 2013
Updated: Wednesday, October 9, 2013 21:10
If you had to figure out a way for the United States government to make money for education, how would you do it? For some, the answer is clear and simple.
Personally, I would legalize marijuana. In an article posted on WorldPress.com, it is estimated that more than one billion dollars are spent every year incarcerating individuals for marijuana consumption. Cutting this alone, the money could be used more productively and have a positive impact on our nation. Additionally, the government loses potential revenue each year that they would receive from legalizing and taxing the drug.
In Utah, a simple possession charge of one ounce or less accounts for 94 percent of marijuana-related arrests in 2007, according to Examiner.com. With an estimated 145,000 cannabis users in Utah, and a similar tax rate as alcohol or tobacco, the state of Utah could make a lot of money by legalizing the herb.
On a larger scale, 800,000 people in the United States are arrested each year for pot-related charges. Of that, 758,593 were charged with simple possession. This stain on a background check can ruin someone’s life forever.
Instead of criminalizing cannabis consumption, if the United States government would legalize its use, an estimated $6 billion could be recovered from sales tax. With the legalization of weed, the government would undermine drug dealers who currently contribute zero dollars in taxes.
In a study by Jon Gettman, marijuana is estimated at a $100 billion industry and every year taxpayers lose over $30 billion of potential taxes on the product. In the same study, Gettman concluded the legalization of marijuana would save the United States an additional $10 billion on judicial expenses.
As stated in BusinessWeek, economist Stephen Easton predicted the legalization of this drug could bring in anywhere between $45 to $100 billion each year.
I simply do not understand why marijuana is still illegal. I think it is important the government changes with the progression of society. Similar to ending prohibition, the legalization of marijuana would save unnecessary expense and increase profits. The nation is in dire need of money and resources. If we tap into this gold mine, we could potentially put the tax revenue into education and other public services, such as health programs, construction and maintenance, just to name a few.
It is scientifically proven that the detrimental effects of marijuana use on the human body are significantly less than its two completely legal counterparts — alcohol and cigarettes.