Throughout Washington, legalized marijuana has become mainstream conversation. In fact, all across the country, more and more legislators and public officials are talking about the decriminalization of marijuana and the legalization of pot. One of the main reasons for all this talk is that as a nation we have seen a cultural shift in how we perceive marijuana and those who use it. In addition, the massive amounts of federal money that is spent to control marijuana use has many questioning if that money could be better spent elsewhere.
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has stated that over $3.6 billion a year is used in the enforcement of laws against drug possession (88% for marijuana related possession arrests). Our taxpayer dollars are hard at work to police, control, and limit the use of marijuana across the country. In fact, the War on Drugs has spent more than $1 trillion since its inception.
Here are some more startling statistics on the War against Marijuana:
- States will spend an estimated $20 billion to enforce marijuana laws over the next 6 years alone
- Each state pays approximately $750 per marijuana arrest
- $95 a day is spent housing each inmate that is arrested due to a marijuana-related offense
- The New York Police Department spent 1 million hours enforcing low-level marijuana offenses between 2002 and 2012
- One marijuana arrest is made every 42 seconds in the United States
Now, Washington and Colorado have legalized marijuana and hope to benefit economically from the tax revenue that will come from the sales, production, and farming of marijuana. In addition, those states will spend less money arresting and sentencing individuals for marijuana related crimes. How much revenue the state will earn from legalized marijuana remains to be seen. Yet many who support the legalization of marijuana believe legalized pot will ultimately be good for all taxpayers.