To put it bluntly

Understanding the economic gain from legalizing marijuana

Rudy Rodriguez

Before we start, I will not be advocating for the consumption of marijuana in any form, but rather giving the issue a look from the viewpoint of possible economic and political benefits that may affect our lives as college students.

Most Americans believe that marijuana is illegal, which is true to a certain extent. In 23 states and the District of Columbia medical marijuana is legal for purchase. The average tax rate for medical marijuana is about 3 percent, while the average tax rate for recreational marijuana is between 10 and 13 percent. The United States economy runs off of taxes. Anything that is government run is funded through the taxes we pay “the man” at the end of the month. Imagine the amount of tax money rolling in if marijuana was legalized nationwide.

The mile-high state itself has put high tax rates on its recreational marijuana. In the month of May alone, the Colorado school system was awarded $1.1 million from taxes on marijuana while the remainder of the taxes were distributed between infrastructure and law enforcement.

Marijuana legalization is only governed on a state level. There is still a major front against legalizing it, especially when it comes to sales regulation. States are scrambling to figure out the details of how to sell it. A largely overlooked issue is what to do with people imprisoned for the lesser pot-based crimes. There are so many cases to look over, and it would take thousands, if not millions, of man hours.

Jeffrey Miron, a professor of economics at Harvard University and major drug legalization advocate, brought up that an “estimated $13.7 billion a year will arise from legalization: $6 billion in new tax revenues and $7.7 billion from reduced costs relating to criminality and enforcement.”

Americans should care about our future. Taxes go toward improving our infrastructure, and our educational and criminal justice systems. Each of these expenditures require massive amounts of funding, and one of the main arguments for pot-legalization is the amount of tax dollar revenue it could bring.

I am not advocating against Union College, Adventist beliefs, or the law. People are going to consume marijuana whether it’s legal or not. It’s unhealthy not to debate tough subjects like the legalization of marijuana.

To put it bluntly, there’s no easy answer.

Rudy is a sophomore studying communication and social science.