For my White Paper, I want to explore the topic of the legalization of marijuana on a federal level. I will examine this topic from a economical, governmental, and societal perspective. Currently 14 states have decriminalized marijuana, and as of 2012 eight more states are also considering removing their strict marijuana regulations. As of now, the intended audience for my White Paper is the United States Government.
When economically examining this issue, I am going to look at monetary predictions regarding taxes, law enforcement, etc. When examining from a governmental perspective, I am going to look at the different regulations in various decriminalized states and analyze which policy is best. Although I will consider the different rules and regulations in different countries to decide on a policy, I do not think it will be beneficial to include in my paper. And finally, I am going to argue how society will be better off- for example, looking back, the prohibition of alcohol actually increased crime, decreased respect for legitimate law, and created great social upheaval.
The source I have found is an article from the Journal of Business Ethics. The article is titled “Drug Prohibition: A legal and economic analysis”, written by Walter Block. I found this source on Google Scholar and I believe it is a legitimate source.
For this proposal I am going to be looking at the economic impact of this topic:
What is known:
- Free market in marijuana will enhance economic welfare
- No “market failures” which could justify a banning of this substance
- Always gains from trade- holds no less in the case under consideration
Policy ideas or recommendations:
- Government will save money: government incurs incredible costs in paying for the enforcement and the regulation of marijuana
- Not only can the government save money by legalizing marijuana, but they can also make money by imposing taxes
Facts and figures:
- If legalized and regulated, an estimated $8 billion would be saved annually in government spending on enforcement, including FBI and U.S.-Mexico border security.
- Can potentially generate around $9 billion dollars in tax revenue
- Currently $8 billion dollars is allocated towards the police budget, the judicial budget, and correctional facilities, all which involve marijuana-related offenses
- With over 700,000 Americans arrested a year on marijuana related charges, legalization would not only decrease spending on unnecessary arrests, but open up prisons and courts for more serious crimes
- One of America’s top-selling agricultural products- estimates that marijuana sales in his state top $14 billion annually.
- New tax revenues from legalized marijuana sales could exceed $1 billion just for California- If taxed nationwide it would help lift the U.S. economy out of its worst recession in decades.