Medical Marijuana and the Economy

As of January 20th, 2015, 23 states have legalized the use of medical marijuana, 4 of which have also legalized the use of recreational marijuana use. There is a lot of controversy of the economic effects of legalization and how it impacts the US economy. The Huffington Post did some research and determined some interesting facts about the legalization of medical marijuana, which may give you some insight into the economics of the medical marijuana industry.

1. The United States government would save an estimated $13.7 billion on enforcement costs by legalizing marijuana.
2. Inmates incarcerated for the illegal use of marijuana cost prisons around $1 billion a year, according to a study done in 2007.
3. Not only do the efforts of marijuana prohibition cost the government $13.7 billion a year, it also costs tax payers and estimated $41.8 billion a year.
4. Marijuana growers in California rake in around $14 billion a year.
5. The illegal marijuana industry is a $36 billion a year industry.
6. An astonishing 1/3rd of Americans think that the legalization of marijuana would boost the economy.
7. Medical marijuana dispensary ads boost local newspapers’ revenue.
8. In California, Mendocino County’s zip tie program, that is aimed at regulating the growing of medical marijuana by charging permits for each plant being grown in the county, has raised $600,000 for the local Sheriff’s department.
9. Oakland, CA has raised more than $1 million in medical marijuana tax revenue. According to the New York Times, this is 3% of the city’s total business tax revenue.
10. After the legalization of medical marijuana in Colorado, the state pulled in an estimated $5 million in sales in 2011.
11. According to Bloomberg Businessweek and Economist Stephen Easton, medical marijuana could be a booming $45 – $100 billion industry.
12. The industry also creates jobs. The hydroponic marijuana growing supply company weGrow indirectly creates around 75 jobs with each new store that is created.
13. More than 60% of the states agree with taxing marijuana, to increase revenues for the state.
14. Marijuana also affects workplace motivation, a Norwegian study concludes.
15. As of 2009, there are an estimated 1,000 medical marijuana dispensaries in California alone, which probably has a lot to do with the states combined $14 billion a year in marijuana sales.
16. The city of Denver, CO counts more medical marijuana dispensaries than Starbucks locations.

As you can see, the legalization of medical marijuana has a lasting impact on the economy of America. Not only does it generate more revenue for the states, it also helps create jobs, putting people back to work.

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