MYTH 2: PROHIBITION AS BENEFICIAL
Harvard University Economist Jeffrey Miron conducted a study that concluded that Marijuana costs state and federal governments $17.4 billion every year. “Legalization reduced expenditure on enforcement and an increase in tax revenue from legalized sale.” (Waldock, Katherine and Miron, Jeffrey, “The Budgetary Impact of Ending Drug Prohibition.” (Cato Institute RSS N.p. 27 Sept. 2010. Web. 28 Jan. 2016).
During the United States’ alcohol prohibition era, “large-scale bootleggers like Al Capone of Chicago built criminal empires out of illegal distribution efforts, and federal and state governments lost billions in tax revenue… Prohibition, failing fully to enforce sobriety and costing billions, rapidly lost popular support in the early 1930s. In 1933, the 21st Amendment to the Constitution was passed and ratified, ending national Prohibition.” (“1933 Prohibition End.” History.com. RSS N.p. 05 Dec. 2015. Web. 28 Jan. 2016).
According to a Pew Research survey from February 2014, “[a]bout seven-in-ten (69%) Americans believe alcohol is more harmful to a person’s health than marijuana.” (Motel, Seth. “6 Marijuana Facts.” Pew Research Center. RSS N.p. 14 April 2015. Web. 28 Jan. 2016).
The estimated annual revenue, if marijuana was legalized for general use nationwide, is $40-$45 billion. To put that into perspective, the annual revenue for U.S. wine sales in 2014 was $36 billion. Beer was roughly $100 billion. “Much of that $40-$45 billion is currently going to the black market, which represents economic loss on multiple levels… the black market generally doesn’t generate taxes… does not support other sectors of the cannabis-related economy such as testing labs. And, policing the black market costs taxpayer dollars.” (Marijuana Business Factbook 2015. Rhode Island: Anne Holland Ventures, Inc., 2015. (page xvii)).