To solve its wrenching budget issues, some in California have pushed for the idea of total legalization of pot, with the idea being that the state would make money twice: taxation and reduced enforcement costs.
California voters will go to the polls this November to vote on some form of legalization, making the economics particularly important.
Here’s their summary findings:
Key findings include the following: (1) The pretax retail price of marijuana will substantially decline, likely by more than 80 percent. The price the consumers face will depend heavily on taxes, the structure of the regulatory regime, and how taxes and regulations are enforced. (2) Consumption will increase, but it is unclear how much because we know neither the shape of the demand curve nor the level of tax evasion (which reduces revenues and prices that consumers face). (3) Tax revenues could be dramatically lower or higher than $1.4 billion; for example, uncertainty surrounds potential tax revenues California might derive from taxing marijuana used by residents of other states (e.g., from “drug tourism”). (4) Previous studies find that the annual costs of enforcing marijuana laws in California range from around $200 million to nearly $1.9 billion; our estimates show that the costs are probably less than $300 million. (5) There is considerable uncertainty about the impact of legalizing marijuana in California on public budgets and consumption, with even minor changes in assumptions leading to major differences in outcomes.
In other words, we wouldn’t expect this to save the budget anytime soon.
Meanwhile in this study comes this handy map of the regions where they like to light up. Not surprisingly, then NorCal stereotype holds true, as the darker regions indicate more pot use.
The original version of the story appears here.
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