Study: Regulating Cannabis Sales Would Yield Over $17 Billion In Annual Savings And Revenue

Washington, DC: Treating marijuana as a legally regulated commodity would yield some $17.4 billion dollars annually in cost savings and new tax revenue, according to an economic report published by the CATO Institute think tank in Washington, DC.

The report, entitled “The Budgetary Impact of Ending Drug Prohibition,” estimates that taxing the commercial sale of marijuana in a manner similar to alcohol would generate some $8.7 billion in annual revenue. The report further estimates that abolishing marijuana prohibition would additionally yield approximately $9 billion in annual law enforcement savings.

A previous 2005 study commissioned by NORML estimated that marijuana law enforcement cost taxpayers some $7.6 billion per year.

A separate California statewide analysis published in 2009 by the state Board of Equalization and Taxation estimated that imposing retail taxes on the commercial sale of cannabis in California would yield approximately $1.4 billion in yearly revenue.

Full text of the study is available online from the CATO Institute at: http://www.cato.org/pub_display.php?pub_id=12169.