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Mon Dec 12, 2011, 07:01 AM

Cost Savings: Jeffrey Mirons - senior lecturer in economics at Harvard on the WoD

This study was widely publicized last year. http://www.cato.org/pub_display.php?pub_id=12169

Jeffrey A. Miron is a senior lecturer in economics at Harvard University and a senior fellow at the Cato Institute. Professor Miron earned his Ph.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and chaired the economics department at Boston University prior to joining the Harvard faculty. Katherine Waldock is a doctoral candidate at the Stern School of Business at New York University.

Miron's study looks at legalizing all drugs, not just cannabis.

This report estimates that legalizing drugs would save roughly $41.3 billion per year in government expenditure on enforcement of prohibition. Of these savings, $25.7 billion would accrue to state and local governments, while $15.6 billion would accrue to the federal government.

Approximately $8.7 billion of the savings would result from legalization of marijuana and $32.6 billion from legalization of other drugs.

The report also estimates that drug legalization would yield tax revenue of $46.7 billion annually, assuming legal drugs were taxed at rates comparable to those on alcohol and tobacco. Approximately $8.7 billion of this revenue would result from legalization of marijuana and $38.0 billion from legalization of other drugs.

After Miron's study, 500 economists signed a letter in support of legalization.


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.

Time Magazine/Joe Klein weighs in: http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1889166,00.html

...there are big issues here, issues of economy and simple justice, especially on the sentencing side. As Webb pointed out in a cover story in Parade magazine, the U.S. is, by far, the most "criminal" country in the world, with 5% of the world's population and 25% of its prisoners. We spend $68 billion per year on corrections, and one-third of those being corrected are serving time for nonviolent drug crimes. We spend about $150 billion on policing and courts, and 47.5% of all drug arrests are marijuana-related. That is an awful lot of money, most of it nonfederal, that could be spent on better schools or infrastructure or simply returned to the public.

At the same time, there is an enormous potential windfall in the taxation of marijuana. It is estimated that pot is the largest cash crop in California, with annual revenues approaching $14 billion. A 10% pot tax would yield $1.4 billion in California alone. And that's probably a fraction of the revenues that would be available and of the economic impact, with thousands of new jobs in agriculture, packaging, marketing and advertising...

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Reply Cost Savings: Jeffrey Mirons - senior lecturer in economics at Harvard on the WoD (Original post)
RainDog Dec 2011 OP
RainDog Dec 2011 #1

Response to RainDog (Original post)

Sat Dec 17, 2011, 08:22 PM

1. Softer Marijuana Laws Saved Philadelphia 2 Million in 2010


"The Philadelphia District Attorney's office estimates that it saved the city two million dollars in revenue through a new program designed to deal with individuals arrested with less than 30 grams (slightly more than one ounce) of marijuana.

...the city no longer has to foot the bill for court-appointed defense attorneys, prosecutorial fees, lab tests, or overtime wages paid to police officers who appear in court. Additionally, says the article, legal personnel at all levels are freed up to concentrate on more serious crimes.

Thousands of cases have been diverted to through Philadelphia's so-called Small Amount of Marijuana (SAM) program, which is designed to process marijuana users quickly through the system and leave them with a clean record. The effort might have been doomed to failure had it not received the support of law enforcement personnel, who say that efforts to take marijuana off the streets use up resources and do little to dent the supply available to users."

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