Boston, MA: Legalizing and regulating the production and distribution of cannabis in Missouri for adults would produce $149 million annually in combined statewide savings and revenue, according to an economic analysis published Wednesday. The white paper, entitled "The Budgetary Implications of Legalizing Marijuana in Missouri," is co-authored by Harvard University economist Jeffrey Miron and was commissioned by the National Cannabis Coalition.
The report estimates that legalizing cannabis in Missouri would save about $90 million in government expenditure and yield some $59 million in new tax revenue annually. The report's calculations are based on the assumption that cannabis would be taxed at rates comparable to those on alcohol and tobacco and that all other states and the federal government would also enact similar regulatory policies.
Stated Miron in a press release: "The savings to Missouri's state and local governments from marijuana legalization consists of three main components: the reduction in expenditures by police from eliminating marijuana-related arrests; the reduction in spending on prosecution and judicial resources; and the reduction in spending on jails and prisons as well as probation and parole. ... [M]arijuana legalization would allow taxation of commerce in production and sale of marijuana which are currently tax free."
Miron has previously estimated that regulating cannabis nationwide would yield an estimated $17.4 billion dollars annually in cost savings and new tax revenue.
Full text of the report is available online from the National Cannabis Coalition here: http://nationalcannabiscoalition.com/2012/10/legalizing-marijuana-missouri-budgetary-implications-blog/.