One of the arguments for legalizing of marijuana is that it is suppose to save a significant amount of money spent in enforcing laws against the crime. Some of the cited supposed savings are:
- Not spending 'War on Drugs' money on enforcing marijuana laws
- Savings of not having to pay the incarceration costs of all the individuals currently in jail for marijuana related offenses (the supposed big savings).
- Money earned from taxing marijuana sales
- Less tangible indirect savings, such as decreasing crimes caused by illegal marijuana sale lowering burden on police, or increased econmic strength that comes from not creating a criminal record for people smoking marijuana allowing them to work better jobs then those with records can get and thus strength economy etc.
There would be some expenses to legalizing marijuana as well, such as cost to the FDA to monitor marijuana sales and enforce any appropriate safety procedures, and possible some other law enforcement costs caused by people acting under the influence of marijuana, but generally marijuana proponents claim a net savings of expenses.
Has any report or study been done that attempted to properly identify these theoretical savings, and costs, of legalization and put a dollar amount on total savings that legalization of marijuana may provide (or increased costs, if marijuana legalization increases total spending instead of saving money)?