Denver Group Calls for Marijuana Regulation
The following news release is reproduced here because it offers important news and views about a local issue.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
New Report: Marijuana Regulation Could Save Colorado $81.6 million; Milton Friedman, Over 500 Economists Call for Debate on Replacing Prohibition With Regulation
Harvard University Economist Projects National Savings/Revenues of $10-14 Billion
CONTACT: Brian Vicente, Esq.
Denver -- In a report released today, Dr. Jeffrey Miron, Visiting Professor of Economics at Harvard University, estimates that replacing marijuana prohibition with a system of taxation and regulation similar to that used for alcoholic beverages would produce combined savings and tax revenues of between $10 billion and $14 billion per year nationally and $81.6 million in Colorado. In response, a group of over 500 distinguished economists -- led by Nobel Prize winner Dr. Milton Friedman -- released an open letter to President Bush and other public officials calling for "an open and honest debate about marijuana prohibition," adding, "We believe such a debate will favor a regime in which marijuana is legal but taxed and regulated like other goods."
"Taxing and regulating marijuana is the right choice for Colorado," says Brian Vicente, Esq., the director of the drug policy non-profit, Sensible Colorado. "The experts agree, marijuana prohibition has failed and the time has come to implement a more rational and humane drug policy in Colorado. Savings produced by taxation and regulation could salvage Colorado's failing health care system which currently denies drug abuse treatment to over 250,000 residents in need."
Using data from a variety of federal and state government sources, Miron's paper, "The Budgetary Implications of Marijuana Prohibition," concludes:
** Replacing marijuana prohibition with a system of legal regulation would save Colorado approximately $64 million in government expenditures on prohibition enforcement, while taxation of regulated marijuana sales would raise at least $17.6 million in new revenue.
**Nationally, such a change would save approximately $7.7 billion in enforcement -- $2.4 billion at the federal level and $5.3 billion at the state and local level.
**National revenue from taxation of marijuana sales would range from $2.4 billion per year if marijuana were taxed like ordinary consumer goods to $6.2 billion if it were taxed like alcohol or tobacco.
While Dr. Miron noted that many factors beyond costs and tax revenues would need to be considered in evaluating possible changes in marijuana laws, he said, "These budgetary impacts should be included in any rational debate about marijuana policy."
"Colorado needs to invest in the future by increasing treatment, prevention programs, and harm reduction education. Regulating and taxing marijuana would fund this investment, " concludes Brian Vicente.
Dr. Miron's full report, the open letter to public officials signed by over 500 economists and the full list of endorsers is available at http://www.prohibitioncosts.org/
ADDITIONAL CONTACT: Economics Prof. Laura Connelly, University of Northern Colorado