“The cost of marijuana legalization in public awareness campaigns, law enforcement, health care treatment, addiction recovery and preventative work is an unknown cost to date… The true impact of marijuana on our communities is just starting to be learned.”
~ Jeff Hunt, Vice President of Public Policy at Colorado Christian University
When legal sales of recreational marijuana began in California in January 2018, people were lined up in the streets. Advocates say that such demand is going to be beneficial to California’s economy. Legal pot sales are expected to reach $3.7 billion in 2018, and perhaps $5 billion by 2019.
Marijuana Sales—Not a Bonanza?
But if Colorado can be used as a model, the tax revenue on those sales in California may not create as large a windfall as some expect. In fiscal 2016, for example, the revenue generated from taxing marijuana only accounted for just 1.18% of Colorado’s total revenue from taxes.
From that money, California—like Colorado—will have to pay to expand:
- Law enforcement
- Regulation compliance
- Prevention and awareness campaigns
- School programs
- Treatment services
- Health care
A representative for the California Police Chiefs Association said, “There’s going to be a public health cost and a public safety cost enforcing these new laws and regulations. It remains to be seen if this can balance itself out.”
Legalization Leads to Other Problems
Hunt notes the other problems Colorado has experienced since legalization, including a rise in:
- Poison control calls
- Emergency room visits
- Traffic fatalities involving marijuana
- Marijuana use by youths—Since legalization, the underage marijuana usage rate has jumped to 74% higher than the national average.
- Black market demand—While cheap, low-quality imports have decreased, the illegal exportation of high-quality weed to neighboring states has spiked dramatically.
“Those early returns haven’t been encouraging. It’s a stretch to believe California’s foray into legalized pot will be much different.” observed Hunt.
Just because it’s legal, doesn’t mean marijuana is a good idea for California…or for YOU. If your pot use is having a negative effect on your life, Lasting Recovery outpatient drug rehab in San Diego can help.