Kevin Sabet always wants to talk about the costs associated with marijuana legalization. He has stated many times that for every dollar that legal marijuana generates, there will be 10 dollars in ‘social costs.’ Of course, Mr. Sabet has never provided specifics, and definitely has never provided any proof to back up his claim. If Boulder, Colorado is any indicator of the costs associated with marijuana legalization, even enforcement doesn’t cost as much as previously anticipated. Per Daily Camera:
In a supplemental budget appropriation made in early 2014, the City Council approved $75,000 for outside legal assistance, $100,000 for forensic accounting services, $20,000 for police overtime, $12,000 for overtime for fire inspections, $96,500 for two new licensing clerks, $85,000 for a new position to review building plans and $85,000 for a new position to do building inspections.
Those expected costs were to be paid out of an estimated $2 million in tax revenue from new recreational marijuana businesses.
Projections for marijuana revenue are closer to $1.5 million by year’s end, but in addition to a significant contingency built into the city’s budget, much of the appropriated money has not been spent.
Enforcing marijuana legalization laws is not as hard as opponents make it out to be. The marijuana industry is largely compliant, and more than willing to do what it takes to remain above reproach. That can’t be said about many other industries, who are slow to accept regulations and try to do everything they can to try to skirt the rules.