One important reason on why marijuana should be legal is that it can save the government millions of dollars. The united states is involved in the “War on Drugs.” The united states spends billions of dollars on chasing down citizens who have marijuana. Innocent people are getting locked up in prison and locking up people cost taxpayers money. Taxpayers have to pay for food, health care, shelter, and much more to lock up people who obtained marijuana. The united states could save billions of dollars every year as a nation if they stop wasting money locking up people for having marijuana.
In addition, if marijuana was legalized, governments would be able to get taxes from marijuana purchases, and the government can spend the tax money on society. There are many costs to keeping marijuana illegal such as the active law enforcement which includes the police. Next there is the cost of prosecution of people with possession of marijuana. Then there is the cost of housing the convicted offenders. Finally there is an opportunity to make money off of legal marijuana. Police officers have pride in fulfilling their role in society. Police are involved in the community and crime prevention. The many acts of heroism seen from police debunk the myth that most cops spend their day eating donuts, writing speed tickets,writing parking tickets, and driving in a car all day doing nothing.
The cost of police officers is really high. The median salary of an officer is around 50,000 depending the state that the officer lives. The equipment that the officers have can add up to a lot of money.
Officers carry a variety of tools such as magazines,flashlights, tasers, night sticks,handcuffs,firearm, pepper spray, body cameras,, bullet proof vest, taser gun, and radios. There are many costs that go into prosecuting an accused offender. One of the cost are hiring a lawyer.
Lawyers usually charge clients by the hour, it can range anywhere from “100-300 or more.” Then an advanced fee known as a retainer, the retainer is an upfront cost that an individual must pay for the lawyer. The retainer can cost anywhere from “2,000-5,000 for misdemeanors and 5,000-15,000 for felonies.”Then the accused defender has to factor in; quantity of drugs,how drugs were stored,drug possession, large cache of money and drugs,prior convictions, and the types of drugs possed. For marijuana possession ” Texas laws treat marijuana as a separate controlled substance class. If the offender possesses two ounces of marijuana or less, he or she faces a maximum jail term of 180 days.”Next there are the texas law penalties for marijuana,for marijuana possession can carry a fine of 250,000, a 180 day jail time and a maximum prison sentence of 99 years. The next penalty is marijuana distribution, in Texas a person can have a jail sentence of 180 days, a fine of 100,000 and a prison time of 99 years.
Another cost of keeping marijuana illegal is the incarceration of the offenders. It is a waste of time and money incarcerating people with marijuana. There have been shocking numbers provided by the Vera institute of justice. The Vera institute of justice works with local, state, and national government officials to provide statistics of prisons across america. In 2011 the Vera institute of justice distributed a survey to fourty states across america to collect information to calculate the total cost of prisons in 2011.
The main focus is the cost of incarcerating someone in Texas. The total budget in 2011 for the Texas department of criminal justice was 2.5 billion dollars. Unfortunately Texas has spent 3.3 billion in 2011.
There were some cost outside the texas department of criminal justice such as employee benefits,pension contribution,underfunded pensions,retiree health care, underfunded health care contributions and capital costs. The data that vera has collected shows that Texas spent 194 million on employee benefits which includes health insurance. Pension contribution which is an amount of money that is added during an employee’s employment years. Then there are some pension contributions that are not funded properly and Texas had to spend 48 million.
Then there are the retiree health contribution which is a health plan and it cost Texas 61 million. There are some underfunded retiree health care which cost Texas 177 million. Finally there are the capital costs which is the purchasing of land, buildings, and equipment for prisons and it cost Texas 208 million. Finally there are opportunities to make money off of marijuana. Colorado is one of few states to legalize marijuana.
On November 6, 2012 Colorado passed the Amendment 64 which lead to the legalization of marijuana. Since then Colorado has made millions of dollars off of legal marijuana considering the state sales tax rate in Colorado is 2.9%. In 2014 according to Colorado department of revenue the total taxes, license, and fee revenue was 67.5 million.
In 2015 130.4 million, in 2016 193.6 million, in 2017 247 million and as of January through May of 2018 109 million has been made. Small unknown towns and big urban areas are using the revenue from marijuana to help homeless people,fix potholes, give scholarships to students and secure water rights. In summary, it is a waste of money trying to arrest people for having marijuana.
It is not worth paying millions of dollars to shelter the individuals with marijuana, or to pay for a lawyer and go through the struggle of reducing prison time. Instead there are many opportunities to make millions of dollars off of legalizing marijuana.