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Who Supports Legalizing Marijuana? 500 Economists Have Got the Ball ‘Rolling’

Economists Encourage President and Elected Officials to Act Now 
More than 500 economists endorse legalizing marijuana—a substance still demonized by most state and federal marijuana laws—and clearly stated their view in a recent letter to President Bush, members of the U.S. Congress, state legislatures, and state governors. 

The letter, signed by well-known economist Milton Friedman, Nobel Laureate George Akerlof, and professors Daron Acemoglu of MIT, Howard Margolis of the University of Chicago and Walter Williams of George Mason University among others, referenced an attached report by Dr. Jeffrey A. Miron, visiting professor of economics at Harvard University.

Dr. Miron’s report, titled “Budgetary Implications of Marijuana Prohibition in the United States,” demonstrated that legalizing marijuana and instituting a regulatory and tax system for it would result in a savings of $7.7 billion per year in state and federal costs. If marijuana were taxed like most consumer goods, marijuana legalization could create tax revenues of at least $2.4 billion per year and as much as $6.2 billion per year if taxed like most alcohol and tobacco products.

The letter urged government officials to institute an “open and honest debate about marijuana prohibition” in order to force those who support continued marijuana prohibition to demonstrate that the benefits of continued prohibition justify the continued costs of enforcement and revenues foregone.

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