While libertarians and conservatives were busy with their own Tea Party protests yesterday, a small group of anti-prohibitionists from the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuan Laws (NORML)presented a symbolic check for $14 billion to the U.S. Treasury from the nation’s pot consumers.
Having just decriminalized pot, activists in Massachusetts are moving to the next logical stamp; full blown legalization under a tax and regulatory regime. Attorney Richard M. Evans argues that a bill now under consideration H2929 (and filed by Rep. Ellen Story) would spark a long overdue discussion about the wisdom of outlawing pot. For more information visit www.cantaxreg.com.
How much could legalization bring in to the federal treasury?
An economic analysis, conducted by George Mason University professor Jon Gettman in 2007, estimates that the total amount of tax revenue derived from cannabis could be far higher. According to Gettman, the retail value of the total U.S. marijuana market now stands at a whopping $113 billion per year. Using standard tax percentages obtained from the Office of Management and Budget, he calculates that the diversion of this market from the taxable economy deprives taxpayers of $31.1 billion annually.
Eventually the end of marijuana prohibition and its huge social costs will arrive.