Over 300 Economists Agree: It’s Time to Legalize Marijuana

Over 300 economists have signed on to an open letter to the President, Congress, Governors, and State Legislators asking them to allow this “country to commence an open and honest debate about marijuana prohibition.” The petition states that the undersigned “believe such a debate will favor a regime in which marijuana is legal but taxed and regulated like other goods.”

Notably, three of the economists who have already signed on are Nobel Laureates. Three hundred plus additional economic scholars have already signed on, you can view the list and more details here. Full text of the petition letter is below:

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.

The fact that marijuana prohibition has these budgetary impacts does not by itself mean prohibition is bad policy. Existing evidence, however, suggests prohibition has minimal benefits and may itself cause substantial harm.

We therefore urge the country to commence an open and honest debate about marijuana prohibition. We believe such a debate will favor a regime in which marijuana is legal but taxed and regulated like other goods. At a minimum, this debate will force advocates of current policy to show that prohibition has benefits sufficient to justify the cost to taxpayers, foregone tax revenues, and numerous ancillary consequences that result from marijuana prohibition.

You can view media coverage of this effort here.

97 thoughts

  1. Once Mitt Romney and he Fascists come to power, ( and I mean REALLY come to power, people, I’m talking75-25 in the U.S. Senate and like 355 seats in the House of Representatives, they’ll attempt to make America as Homogenous as possible… Including, possibly, eventually the Death Penalty for Marijuana use/possession… It might sound far-fetched… But it is coming… Just watch!!

  2. I don’t know about you guys but as a Libertarian I don’t observe laws that are designed to “keep me safe” from myself. Those who wanna smoke do regardless of what these schmucks in Washington say. They’re overstepping their power and have 0 authority to enforce such laws. It’s unAmerican and if they’re really waging the war on weed to hurt s American cartels THEN LET ME GROW IT!!!!

  3. What we / you all fail to realize, is that when they say LEGALIZE, they probably mean make it legal for large coporations to grow and sell it, and keep it illegal to grow or trade your own. Which will mean generic and weaker… more like “mexican” than Hydro. Its going to be a big mess, as these lawmakers are freaking clueless about common sense and true freedom. Freedom literally means MAKING MONEY WITHOUT INTERFERENCE to these cavepeople.

  4. Why call for a debate? Let’s call for a citizen’s initiative (I hate referenda because then the politicians get to set the questions). There are so many special interests making billions out of law enforcement that legalization has no chance of making it through a legislature. This is a clear case were voters have to bypass their political middlemen via initiative.

  5. Don’t worry about taxing it… cause I’ll be growing it… legal or not… I didn’t make the rules, so I DON’T FOLLOW THE RULES!

  6. I live in central pa and lets say marijuana is legalized someday(I doubt it). Will our employers still be able to didctate what we do on our own time. Geisinger Medical Center in Danville wont hire people who smoke cigerettes and will possibly fire you if you already smoke as a long term employee. I can only guess that they will still be able to do so. If my boss feels i should’nt smoke mj, guess what, he’ll still have the power to give a urine test and fire me.

  7. Listen this is a joke that pot is not legal I smoke it cause it helps me eat sleep and most of helps with pains annd stress.. Now if I took over the counter crap pills or whatever they tell u will work I would be hooked on pills and would prob die from side effects.. I know I’m not the only one… But mass. Is full of uptight liberals and corrupt politicians my state will not see this legal…

  8. This suggested price is the MINIMUM. There have been report that California alone could gross over $100 billion a year in just marijuana as a recreation substance. HOWEVER these figures do not suggest the possible dollar amount that could be achieved in the hemp industry such as paper, cloths, plastics, OTHER types of medicine asides from smoking like Juicing the RAW plant for its enriched cannabinoids such as CBD (cannabidiol) which is non psychoactive. YES YOU CAN USE WEED AND NOT GET MEDICATED (High is something stupid kids say were adults people lets call it what it is, “medicating”)People forget that you can make plastic out of this. LOOK AROUND YOUR HOUSE…maybe look at your computer… all could be made of cannabis. instead of waiting 20 years to chop a tree down we can harvest the same amount of lumber every year and we don’t have to rape the rain forest to do it. How about the gas that we could use to fuel are cars. also with this plant. I could go on but I’ll spare the long ass post….Just glad that its more the just hippies and people like you and I fighting for this cause. now we have the blue suites are finally following suite. Just for the fact that tobacco which no one can deny kills thousands of people every year but yet that’s ok and we just shrug are shoulders at it (not you the idiots making it and the government)is preposterous and morally fucked. Don’t tell me not to use a harmless plant on my body when your cool with me ingesting a chemical stick that has a better chance of killing me then old age. FUCK OFF with your WANNABE protection.

    Yup that just happend. Well anyways what I was trying to get at was were talking more then $100 billion a year per state when combining the saving from prisons and jails and add it to all the products you can make with it and medicine you can make with it. it would no doubt bring us out of debt. THE PLANT WILL SAVE THE WORLD! Hell It cures cancer!!! YOUTUBE: “Running From the Cure” and suck on that pharma!


  9. It’s coming. Last year they authorized pharmacutical companies to begin manufacturing it.

  10. I personally think it should not be legalized and regulated like tobacco and alcohol because it is medicene and if thats to happen i wont have a way to get through my day and school without my daily medicene. Me being 18 clearly see how its already impacted me and the ways its helped me through out everyday activites and to also help me get an appitite and the need to sleep when i cant!

  11. Imagine if there was a plant that could be grown by nearly anyone – something that could relieve stress (one of the major contributors to cancer, diseases and illnesses) that would make music, food, your surroundings, your life – etc. – more fun, enjoyable, humorous and entertaining – Something that unquestionable enhances your creativity – something that never killed anyone – something that relieves pain, cures many medical conditions and actually saves lives – but a group of people who benefit from outlawing it, or others who are uninformed – make laws that say YOU can’t use it or have it – and by prohibiting it, robs people of their freedom, locks them away from their families and ruins their careers, promotes and enriches organized crime, and actually is directly responsible for thousands of deaths every year.

    What kind of immoral, barbaric, draconian thinking is that?

    Whatever happened to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness?

  12. Ron paul is the only politician to listen to the people. If you want Marijuana legalized you have to start from the top down and clean house. And that’s exactly what Dr. Paul intends to do.
    Vote Ron Paul 2012!!!

  13. If prohibition worked, fewer than 20 million Americans would have partaken of the plant last year and over half a million arrests would not have been made. Clearly prohibition is not a deterrent to use. Worst of all it keeps the billion dollar industry in the hands of criminals rather than honest hard-working Americans. Anyone who’s isn’t for legalizing marijuana is simply misinformed or under educated on the subject.

  14. Can anyone explain to me why it required a Constitutional amendment to make it legal to prohibit the manufacture, distribution and possession of alcohol but the government can arbitrarily prohibit other drugs with impunity? I don’t understand?

  15. The economic argument is powerful but cuts both ways. We currently think this is going to be a boon to small time farmers, but I think that the effect on law is the most interesting. The cost of jailing and marginalizing large amounts of people, usually young, usually black, is crippling. And I’ll say that my desire to see this prohibition ended is that I don’t want my son to one day go to jail for something so FOOLISH!

    On the revenue side, I could care less if its big-agro that grows the stuff or ma and pa. The taxes gained by sales is, in my opinion, dwarfed by the social cost of ruining peoples lives.

  16. We can also pass laws nullifying convictions for possession. These laws were designed to ruin the economy and it worked like a charm. Now we are smarter.

    Frankly, marijuana users should be added in as a protected class under our Civil Rights Laws, as are veterans. Just so everyone gets the message not to treat people like garbage, denying employment, just because they smoke pot.

  17. Thanks! I love having a little swipe file I can reference any time I??m stuck for ideas ??.Although?? I have to admit most of the time my brain is on overdrive. Lol

  18. “California 2020” is the super funky dance hit about a future California
    after it’s decided to completely legalize marijuana. Set to an informational slide
    show of mind blowing statistics, it’s the funkiest advocate for
    marijuana law reform ever!!! Funky slap bass and DJ beats set to
    statistics from Norml on medical marijuana tax revenues, Mexican drug
    cartels, heath care costs, prison populations, and more. A must have for
    the mind and the dance floor!!!

    Imagine the message we’d send if the number one youtube video hit
    was a legalization song!!!

    serene fatigue


    Read more: http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/blogs/national-affairs/pot-legalization-is-coming-20120726#ixzz22Q1TnZ8W

  19. I cant agree more! I myself consume Marijuana since I had a sleeping disorder. Instead of taking some heavy sleep meds I rather smoke a little bit of weed now in then in my vaporizer. It’s finally time to legalize it nation-wide!

  20. I think we’re still a few years away at least from full legalization. However where I’m from in Canada it will be fully legal in July this year. So hopefully more countries will follow suit!

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