Legal Marijuana in Alabama = $130,000,000
AL.com is carrying the story about how much money California would make if they go through with legalizing and taxing marijuana for adult use. The California estimate given by their Board of Equalization is $1.4 BILLION dollars.
That's a bunch of cash. That got me wondering about how much money Alabama would rake in if we legalized and taxed the sale of marijuana to adults at the same rate California plans to. Here is what the numbers look like.
The number of +18 marijuana smokers in Alabama is estimated to be 392,032 or 11.25% of the voting age population. That number is obtained by looking at the SAMSHA chart on substance use in Alabama in the past month and multiplying 11.25% times the voting age population of Alabama as of 2006 which is 3,484,729.
Next we look at the SAMSHA chart for California and see that 16.97% of +18 age group used marijuana in the past month. We multiply that by California's voting age population which is 24,650,185 and get 4,183,136.
Next we divide
Current marijuana users in AL (392,032) divided by current CA users (4,183,136).
This gives 9.3 percent of CA's marijuana using population.
0.093 x $1.4 billion = $130 million (and change).
That is not counting the money that would be made by putting Alabama farmers back to work or cottage industry grows that would spring up across the state, or the money that would be generated in new business that cater to the marijuana industry like pipe shops/smoking accessories, munchie outlets, places to congregate and smoke (think vapor/smoke bars) an increase in fertilizer and other farm equipment sales, marketing, packaging. Not to mention the hundreds of millions of dollars we would save in enforcement costs, incarceration, courts, etc..etc
I'd like to be able to crunch the numbers on how much Alabama spends on enforcement costs but those aren't available. The ALDOC doesn't break down inmates convicted of drug offenses by drug. I hear the Sentencing Commission has those numbers but they won't come off them. We know that 30% of all Alabama inmates are incarcerated for drug offenses. If all of those were for marijuana we would save $117,000,000 on top of the $130,000,000 we'd make by legalizing it for adult use.
However, we do know the number of Alabamians arrested statewide for marijuana for the year 2002. That number is 10,272. That is only 2.6% of the total number of estimated marijuana consumers in Alabama. All those millions and millions of dollars pumped into arresting marijuana users and the cops can't even make a dent in it. 2.6% is not even a drop in the bucket.
The war on marijuana consumers is a SHAM! Let's end it.
Loretta Nall is an political activist, former Alabama Libertarian Gubernatorial Candidat, and longtime contributor to Cannabis Culture and Pot-TV. Check out her blog about drug policy reform, politics, medical marijuana and more at nallforgovernor.blogspot.com.