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Marijuana’s $42 Billion Question

The U.S. marijuana is a $113 billion annual business that costs taxpayers $41.8 billion in enforcement costs and lost tax revenues, according to a study to be published later Monday.

The study, “Lost Taxes and Other Costs of Marijuana Laws,” by Jon Gettman, contends that marijuana sales are mostly the province of teenagers and young adults. His numbers also imply that the industry is supported, in both demand prices, by a relatively few extremely heavy users. maryjane.jpg

The study used diverse sources including government studies, private research and even High Times magazine to determine that about 25 million Americans consume an estimated total of 31 million pounds of pot annually. The number of users, and the price paid for pot, have changed little over recent years, despite continual government interdiction and incarceration efforts, the study says.

Based on government assumption that some 28.7% of U.S. gross domestic product ends up as tax revenue on a federal, state or local basis, the $113 billion could yield $31 billion in taxes. Assuming that marijuana offenses, which are 5.54% of all arrests, take an equal share of the country’s $193 billion in annual criminal justice expenditures, Gettman finds another $10.7 billion in annual savings.

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One Response

  1. iSay… go for it.

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