Economic effect of legal marijuana

In Maine and California, voters may make the choice to legalise it this November. How much will these states benefit from this? It is often stated that legalisation will end a lot of black market related crime, saving a lot of money on police and courts. Also, the product will be taxed(10% in Maine’s proposal, not sure about CA) bringing in revenue. How much did Colorado, Washington, Oregon, and Alaska make or save for the state government’s after legalisation? I live in Maine, and most likely will be voting yes. I’m not a smoker, but I think prohibition does more harm than good.

It’s all good, man.

It seems to me that crime reduction and taxes are good things.

Yes. I agree with this 100%. I was looking for numbers. How much was crime reduced in states with legal marijuana? How much money did they make from taxes?

Overview of current and proposed legal cannabis tax rates and revenue: http://taxfoundation.org/article/marijuana-legalization-and-taxes-lessons-other-states-colorado-and-washington

Here’s an article about crime rates.

According to this article, Colorado generated $135MM of tax revenue from the legalization in 2015.

Considering the population differences, Maine being 75% smaller, you might expect about $30MM of tax revenue if the tax rates are similar.

Neighboring states, like Nebraska, have collected a lot of fine revenue from arresting people returning from Colorado with marijuana.

It’s possible that the increased expense for police & courts may outweigh the fine income, but as this expense is mostly salaries paid to police & court employees, it could be considered as a (rather inefficient) jobs program.

Oregon is off to a slow start, the ballet measure that passed requires the legislature to implement a recreational marijuana system, and that’s still in the works. So basically we have a system through executive order allowing recreation sales through existing medicinal dispensaries. The tax charged is 25% starting the first of 2016 and raised $3.5m the first month {Cite}. We should have actual retail stores beginning of 2017 and here the tax will be 17% {Cite}.

Ask again in a couple years, let the cash flow stabilize.

I’ve always wondered if legalizing something illegal really counts as ‘crime reduction’. I’m all for making marijuana illegal and I understand, that there will, technically, be less crime ‘on the books’, but it’s not like it’s happening less, which is what the phrase is implying.
I mean, if changed the legal BAC limit from .08 to .12, and all else remained the same, there would be a whole lot less DUI/PAC (Prohibited Alcohol Concentration) tickets and, technically, there would be less people committing crimes even through just as many people would be driving around at .11 as there were before (lets assume they aren’t driving like drunks but pulled over for some other reason and ‘caught’). Or what if we made it legal to (at least in my state) conceal a firearm without a license. Again, wouldn’t change anything, but all those people found with concealed guns just wouldn’t be doing anything wrong.

From a technical standpoint, yes, it’s ‘crime reduction’, but it’s not like it’s happening because we’re changing the people, we’re just not reporting it anymore.

Again, I’m all for legalizing it, not tying up the court system, no jail time, taxes etc, all great, it just seems odd, to me, to say that we’re reducing crime by making something legal.

We could also reduce the amount of people ‘exceeding the speed limit’ but increasing it by 10mph.

I have a friend that brought some back, through an airport, a few months ago. I thought that was nuts. I mean, I get it, I just through it was pretty risky, especially since if he was caught, I assume he’d be dealing with the feds. I told him he would have been way better off FedEx’ing to himself the day he left. FedEx doesn’t care what you send. But I wouldn’t be surprised if the CO airports are watching for tourists to be leaving with pot on them. They’re not stupid.

My friend that brought some pot back from Boulder about 20 years ago (when it was no more legal in Boulder than it was in Wisconsin) was probably way safer.

The idea with marijuana legalization reducing crime isn’t just that marijuana isn’t a crime anymore. Illegal products of any kind are sold by sketchy black market types and gangsters. These are people who may commit other crimes, like extortion, and murder, to protect their income. Legalizing marijuana means it is sold in legitimate stores, which are run like any other business. This would bring a drop in the gang crime that comes with selling an illegal product.

This is partially correct … the other part is a substantial reduction of income from crime.

Your examples aren’t very good, these are lawful activities that only become illegal in certain circumstances. That’s never been the case for marijuana, two or three seeds and you’ll face 20 years in prison. A better example is Prohibition, look at all the crime from the illegal commerce of alcohol, this wasn’t just the crime of selling booze, but all the gangland killings, turf wars etc etc etc … financed through illegal alcohol sales.

I hadn’t thought about other, still illegal, crimes that would be reduced, due to certain laws being relaxed. That makes more sense in this context.