Statistics say that the legalization and tax of marijuana in California will result in about $1.4 billion in annual revenue towards the state deficit as reported by the Marcus Wholsen of the Associated Press on July 15, 2009. So how will this help California with an already exuberant $23 billion dollar debt? It may–over the course of about 20 years! So will legalizing marijuana for personal use and sale help California tackle the state deficit and refrain from closing parks and recreation? Here’s a look at how the state’s deficit may be able to dwindle away just with the legalization of marijuana.
In addition to the legalization adding a revenue of over a billion dollars a year from sales there would also be the need for distribution centers and employees to operate the centers. There would be the need for farmers and for packers as well. The economic impact of legalizing the growth, possession and sale of marijuana in California alone would result in hundreds if not thousands of jobs, fewer wasted police operations on marijuana, and a reduced incarceration rate in the state.
Salary.com reports that the average California public school teacher makes about $50 thousand per year and the average police officer of the state makes about $45 to $50 thousand per year. There has been talk over the past months about cutting police forces in the state due to the budget deficit. The legalization of marijuana could result in both a decreased need for police force as well as an increase in revenue that potentially could be used to maintain the existing force. At $50 thousand per year being the average salary for an officer and for a teacher, the state of California could afford to maintain the salaries of 20,000 teachers or police officers. The economic impact of an increased education force for the youth of California could be the difference between the increased need for police task forces to control the current youth problems.
Legalizing marijuana was long considered a gateway to additional drug activity and the increased use of more harmful drugs such as cocaine and heroin however a recent study by the Centre for Economic Policy Research in London has found that the use of cannabis or marijuana does not in fact lead to hard drug use and therefore marijuana is no longer considered a gateway drug by the Centre or the Institute of Medicine based on recent studies. Increased marijuana use in California could lead to an actual decrease in youth related hard drug use over time based on the results of these studies as summarized on www.drugscience.org.
So, will marijuana legalization be the answer to California’s deficit problems? It looks like only time will tell the true answers to this pressing question but with current propositions being all for this plan, California is to gain at least $1 billion annually in sales revenue as well as the potential economic impact which is to include increase jobs, decreased crime statistics and the possibility of one day being deficit free!
Marcus Wholsen, Associated Press, California Tax Officials: Legal Pot would Bring $1.4 Billion, http://news.yahoo.com
Safety for Use: Cannabis as a Gateway Drug, www.drugscience.org
Salary Average Reports, www.Salary.com