The United States has long pursued the war against drugs resulting in the world’s largest prison population and costing billions of dollars yearly. While there are many arguments between proponents and opposers of the legalization of marijuana, legalizing weed could economically benefit the United States. The states of Washington and Colorado have legalized marijuana for recreational use and a number of other states have legalized marijuana for medical use. The estimated savings from reduced spending on the criminal justice costs of marijuana law enforcement would reduce the need for prosecutorial, judicial, correctional, and police resource spending by approximately $7.7 billion – $13.7 billion per year. In addition, Revenue gains from marijuana taxation, licensing, and industry could generate more than $8.7 billion in government revenue. Tax expert and attorney Pat Oglesby conducted an analysis of existing marijuana tax proposals. Oglesby claims that Washington State’s legalization proposal which includes restrictions on advertising and drugged driving could generate approximately $500 million in state revenue. Oglesby notes that the economic impact of legalization can depend on other factors such as legalization’s probable impact on alcohol consumption, however, the projected revenues from additional taxes and streams of income and savings, along with freeing criminal justice costs created by the decriminalization of marijuana could immediately save our country billions and billions of dollars.

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