arizona marijuana
Ending Marijuana Prohibition

How Much Money Would Arizona Make From Legalizing Marijuana?

arizona marijuanaThere are many reasons why marijuana should be legalized in Arizona. For starters, no one should be arrested and/or convicted for marijuana possession. Law enforcement should be focused on catching real criminals, not busting marijuana users. That moral reason should be enough. But if it’s not, another reason is that legalizing, taxing, and regulating marijuana in Arizona would generate a lot of revenue for the state. Per the Phoenix New Times:

Arizona could generate an additional $48 million in revenue each year by legalizing and taxing marijuana, an analysis by the State Legislature shows.

The Joint Legislative Budget Committee produced a report in September on the estimated impact of legal marijuana, but didn’t release the data publicly. New Times obtained a copy of the report this morning.

Prepared in response to a legalization bill proposed earlier this year by a group of Democrats, the JLBC report shows that Arizona could enjoy a large boost in revenue for schools, health care and other services simply by taxing people who already use marijuana.

Something that the analysis didn’t take into account was the money that would be saved from not enforcing marijuana prohibition, which is a significant amount in itself. Marijuana prohibition in Arizona has failed. It’s time that Arizona took a new approach to marijuana laws, an approach that is built upon sensible logic, not reefer madness fears of decades past. If you live in Arizona, contact your legislator and let them know how you feel.

  • Denny

    Marijuana prohibition has failed across the country, and it seems that a growing number of states are finally beginning to recognize it.
    When comparing crime incidents among marijuana users and alcohol consumers the comparison is rather easy.
    The commonplace orange jump suit parade seen on the local evening news is primarily comprised of those who over consumed alcohol, became intoxicated, and were involved in either a vehicle-related accident or a violent crime such as spousal/child/elder/animal abuse. It’s extremely rare that we hear about a marijuana user becoming involved in a violent crime of any kind, especially one that involves a physical form of violence.
    I’ve talked with numerous law enforcement officers and those in law-related career fields about the impact of alcohol and marijuana on various types of crime, and their overwhelming response has been, “If alcohol was removed from the store shelves for a month and replaced with marijuana, violent crime would plummet.”
    I agree…

    • Dave_K

      An early study in Denver reported that violent crime there dropped 40% after they decided to legalize and to regulate marijuana. Although folks like Kevin Sabet predicted that zombies would pilot buses and planes in Denver, this is yet to happen… Use by teens has decreased. DUI fatalities are down in Colorado and in states where they have legalized the medical use of marijuana. At least two polls have reported that folks in Colorado continue to believe that they have made the right decision regarding marijuana. The only downside that I have heard is an increase in kids going to emergency rooms for nonlethal “overdoses” of marijuana edibles. What you report about alcohol is true. Alcohol is the drug that is associated with violence and fatal car crashes. Look at the numbers from our government’s own CDC (Center for Disease Control) that clearly indicate that marijuana is a far less lethal drug than either alcohol or tobacco. The prohibition of marijuana has increased its use (since the start of the War on Drugs) and it is currently estimated that close to half of the people in the US have now tried it. It is estimated by people who have studied the LD50 of marijuana that you would have to consume 1500 lbs of marijuana in 15 minutes to receive a lethal overdose. Almost half of our states now allow for the use of marijuana as medicine or have already made plans to legalize and regulate. Fewer people die from marijuana than are killed by aspirin and coffee (according to the CDC). Studies have reported for many years that those who use high doses of marijuana over many years do not die sooner than their peers who do not. In contrast, look at the figures for heavy use of alcohol and tobacco which clearly do shorten lives. The only reasons to continue to incarcerate those who use marijuana are angry, barbaric, and mean spirited. The arguments against legalization and regulation typically lack any factual support and function only to increase budgets of law enforcement, prosecutors, and private prisons. Legalize marijuana and regulate it like alcohol in 2016. This is the right thing to do for our citizens and for our children.

  • Eric Garner was killed for not paying taxes. I don’t think taxes are the answer.

  • Dave_K

    Marijuana prohibition is also associated with substantial costs for state provided social services. Kids are taken from homes, sometimes permanently, when marijuana is found in a home. The costs of a marijuana arrest frequently cause others in the family to obtain state provided services like food stamps, medical care, welfare, etc. Even when the parent returns from prison for possession of marijuana the family is often forced to continue those services as that parent is an ex-convict who is unemployable. It is clear to me that the savings in Arizona will be far more substantial than our legislature or their study has estimated. Legalize and regulate in 2016. This is the right thing to do for the citizens of our state and for our children despite what you hear from those whose opinions were bought and paid for by our failed War on Drugs.