Legalizing Pot Would Raise More Revenue Than Buffett Rule

Medical-marijuana-signPhilip Klein makes a good economic case for legalization of marijuana, writing for the Washington Examiner:

Over the past week, President Obama spent time promoting the Buffett Rule surtax on millionaires and paid a visit to Colombia in which he reiterated his opposition to legalizing drugs. Though the two issues were unrelated, it’s worth remarking that legalizing drugs would actually do more to reduce deficits than implementing the Buffett Rule.

The Buffett tax, which failed to advance in the Senate last night, would have raised $5.1 billion in 2013 (theoretically its first full year of implementation), according to the Joint Committee on Taxation. Yet a 2010 study by the libertarian Cato Institute found that legalizing marijuana alone would save the federal government $3.3 billion in reduced enforcement expenditures per year and raise an additional $5.8 billion in revenue assuming it would be taxed. If all drugs were legalized, the study estimated it would save the federal government $15.6 billion a year and raise an additional $31.2 billion in revenue — for a total of $46.8 billion. That’s slightly higher than the $46.7 billion the Buffett Rule tax is projected to raise over the full decade.

These numbers only pertain to the federal government, but the majority of the cost of the drug war is imposed on state and local governments. If governments at all levels are included, the Cato study projected that full drug legalization would reduce total budgets by $88 billion when one includes enforcement savings and new tax collections…

[continues at the Washington Examiner]


Majestic is gadfly emeritus.

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7 Comments on "Legalizing Pot Would Raise More Revenue Than Buffett Rule"

  1. Vancouver was considering legalizing. Their plan was to take drugs from the ones dealing illegally, tax the pants off it, then sell it and put the money towards healthcare. The smart dealers know they would lose profit if it was legalized.

    •  Hm, so it would eventually be a big (though legitimate) business monopoly central to government services. Makes sense.

  2. as long as i can grow my own i wouldn’t worry about a tax.

  3. SpyderJeru | Apr 17, 2012 at 4:44 pm |

    The powers that be are not interested in this and never will be. With drugs being illegal, not only do they have a legal instrument to marginalize, incarcerate, disenfranchise, demonize, and discriminate against  poor people, brown/black people; but equally important to them I propose, they have ‘business interests’ to support- that of private prisons, police unions, and others positioned to reap financial benefits off of this ridiculously predatory system.

    No one REALLY believes that marijuana is anything like alcohol, tobacco, or even caffeine, in its potential detrimental health effects. The problems, in addition to those stated in the previous paragraph, are that it is a grow-anywhere weed, that once legal or decriminalized, will not be able to be taxed or tracked as alcohol/tobacco/caffeine.

    And if you want to get really deep, since there are no similar long term, TERMINAL detrimental health effects, maybe less people will have the cancers, COPDs, congestive heart failures, and other heart problems steming from alcohol/tobacco/caffeine which lead to the multibillion dollar returns recognized in the healthcare, insurance, and treatment industries.

    C.R.E.A.M. Cash Rules Everything Around Me – Wu Tang Clan

    Bottom line is that untold billions would be at risk as well as a key instrument in discrimination, fear propaganda, racism and classism is NOT something that The Powers That Be will EVER relinquish voluntarily.

    Wake Up. Unite. Revolt. No taxation without representation. Let’s Take the Power Back!!

  4. Linear Inequality | Apr 17, 2012 at 7:01 pm |

    when did “taxes” become “revenue”? 

  5. +————-+—————-+———-+———————-+
     | DOING            know where you are
     |             |                |           manipulate           |
     | recognize, compare
     |             |                |          configure, concrete 
     | symbolic
     | chains of reasoning
     |             |                |          abstract             |

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