Thursday, April 19, 2012

The Marijuana Legalization Debate Facts (errors corrected under the graphic)

I like this graphic except for the taxation benefits it lists. They are incorrect, as I point out in the comment I left for them at their web site:
"The $36 billion figure quoted as potential revenue is false because marijuana cultivated in a post-prohibition market, however, would cost a fraction of the figure you gave. 
"To get a sense of the disparity in price between legal and illegal drugs, compare the production value of marijuana—about $1,600 per pound by your $36B estimate—to the production value of tobacco, a legal smoke crop that US farmers sell for less than $2 per pound. 
"Go back to 2005, make marijuana legal, and give it an astronomically high production value of $800 per pound, or half of the per pound value based on your $36B estimate: It would have tied with soy beans in 2006 as America’s third largest cash crop, with an average production value of roughly $17 billion. If it had the same production value per pound as tobacco, or $2, its APV in 2005 would have been $44 million; or less than 10 percent of beans, 2005’s 20th most valuable cash crop. 
"So while pointing to marijuana as America’s largest cash crop is a good indicator of its popularity (and arguably, the safety of its use), it doesn’t follow that taxation and regulation of the drug in a post-prohibition market would be a boon to a floundering economy, especially when factoring in the costs of an aggressive regulatory framework. And the estimate you used skews all the other estimates you gave based on it." --jef