One frequent argument that plagues the legalization of marijuana is will it reduce the expenditure’s created by marijuana. Will it generate a fiscal windfall by reducing arrests, prosecutions, and incarceration and by allowing the state to collect tax revenue on legalized sales? The state is actually facing a budget shortfall of roughly $20 billion for fiscal year 2011. The assumption is that California could save $960 million in expenditures and raise another $352 million in tax revenue from legalizing marijuana. Some assumptions are problematic, however.
The first issue is that even if Prop 19 passes all states and federal government will not legalize marijuana simultaneously. The federal government might even try to prevent the implementation all together.
The second issue is that the state might not save on the criminal justice part due to the fact they may have to lay off workers such as police officers, prosecutors, prison guards, and such. This wouldn’t create the saving they are looking for. However, they would be able to employ more people in a thriving industry.
The debate about Prop 19 needs to focus on issues other than any budgetary impacts. The most to consider is that, in a free society, adults should be able to consume marijuana so long as the do not harm others. This makes DUI and under age smoking still effective just like alcohol.
Overall marijuana can help California’s budget tremendously if not totally. A 60 billion dollar business that needs workers and businesses has to account for something. Just like coffee, bars, cigarettes, etc… If the people want something they will buy it no matter the law, so why not capitalize for the community.