October 22, 2014 11:20 am

The Economic Benefits of the Legalization of Marijuana

On January 1st of 2014, something happened that has never happened in any other state in our nation: the first bag of legal marijuana was sold for recreational purposes in Colorado. While medical marijuana has been around for some years now, no state or federal legislative body had ever made the leap to recreational use…until now.

Putting aside the important and relevant arguments about the morality and safety of marijuana, which are highly individualized and personal decisions, the question still remains about what economic and financial benefits can result in the legalization of recreational marijuana. Let’s take a look at the Economic Benefits of the Legalization of Marijuana!


Whenever a contention is made for the legalization of marijuana, the first benefit extolled is usually the amount of taxes that can be collected on it. One of the most helpful examples one can look to on this subject is the state that started it all, Colorado.

According to recent statistics, Colorado stands to generate over $98 million in tax revenue from marijuana sales this year alone.

According to a 2010 report made by the CATO Institute, this extra tax income would increase into the billions if it were adopted by the entire country. Estimates put this number at around $8.7 billion in tax revenue on marijuana legalization alone.

Law Enforcement Savings

The War on Drugs has been a part of our lives for decades now, combining the tactics of prohibition with education to stem the flow of drugs to our country. Unfortunately, most experts would agree that this war has been a dismal failure, racking up more than $1 trillion in spending, with little to show for it.

marijuana legalization 300x225 The Economic Benefits of the Legalization of Marijuana

So how much could America save if marijuana was no longer part of that war?

Economists project that this would cut around $7.7 billion off of the amount currently being spent on the War on Drugs. Out of that, approximately $5.3 billion would go to state economies and $2.4 billion would go to the federal government.

Do you have an opinion on the economic ramifications of the legalization of marijuana?

Let us know in the Comments section below!