Pubdate: Fri, 31 Jul 2009
Source: Alexander City Outlook, The (AL)
Copyright: 2009 The Alexander City Outlook
Author: Loretta Nall


Dear Editor,

Recently, there's been a lot of discussion about legalizing marijuana
and the amount of tax revenue it would generate. There was even a poll
on the front page of the Outlook. In California, it's estimated that
legal marijuana would bring $1.4 billion annually. I crunched the
numbers to see how much Alabama might rake in if we also legalized

The current number of marijuana users in Alabama is estimated to be
392,032, or 11.25 percent of the voting-age population (as of 2006.)
Divide that by the current number of marijuana consumers in
California, which is estimated at 4,183,136. These numbers are
according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services
Administration and Census data.

Alabama's 392,032 users is equivalent to 9.3 percent of California's
marijuana-consuming population. Multiply 0.093 times $1.4 billion and
you get $130.2 million.

Those figures do not include money that would be made by putting
Alabama farmers back to work, businesses and jobs created that cater
to the marijuana industry, tourism or the hundreds of millions saved
in enforcement costs.

Considering that Alabama law enforcement arrested only 2.6 percent of
marijuana consumers (10,272) in 2002 at a cost of untold millions of
taxpayer dollars, I think it is safe to say that marijuana prohibition
has failed. It's time Alabama considered legalizing and reaping the
benefits of this untapped green goldmine.

Loretta Nall

Alexander City
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