It ain't just the whackadoodles in California who are looking to pot to try and find extra revenue streams. Our prim and proper brothers from across the pond are also looking into drug legalization as a method for generating revenue for the state.
In a comprehensive study, published today in the UK, it is claimed that the state could save as much as 14 billion pounds a year in the decriminalization and regulation of marijuana. The study points to saving coming in through an ending of law enforcement wasting time and resources trying to track down pot dealers and growers (and refocusing on keeping our children safe from creepy lechers looking to cram them into a crawlspace), a reduction in the overall crime rate of non-violent offenders (as well as housing in the prison system), and in tax revenue generated from the taxes placed on the legal sale of marijuana in cafes and liquor stores.
While they acknowledged that there would be some costs in the treatment of abuse (even though marijuana is not addictive) and in education, they also point out that the state already has such spending in place in regards to alcohol and tobacco. The report states:
"The conclusion is that regulating the drugs market is a dramatically more cost-effective policy than prohibition and that moving from prohibition to regulated drugs markets in England and Wales would provide a net saving to taxpayers, victims of crime, communities, the criminal justice system and drug users of somewhere within the range of, for the four scenarios, £13.9bn, £10.8bn, £7.7bn, £4.6bn.
... The government specifically claims the benefits of any move away from prohibition towards legal regulation would be outweighed by the costs. No such cost-benefit analysis or even a proper impact assessment of existing enforcement policy and legislation has ever been carried out here or anywhere else in the world.""
- Comparison of the Cost-effectiveness of the Prohibition and Regulation of Drugs
For us as a society to continue pursuing the failed and ever costly policy of prohibition when it comes to marijuana (let alone all drugs, but for now let's just keep it simple) is starting to become asinine and foolish. When you look at the violence in Mexico, or the faces of good citizens guilty of doing nothing more than trying to find a little relief from the pangs of life, or at bloated government budgets hemerging money yet unwilling to look to a different way of doing things in order to try and ease the financial burden on it citizens and you still hold true to the archaic policies of the past is unforgivable. But with American politicians more beholden to groups like the Religious Right and the Nanny State Left (both hell bent on controlling how we live in our own homes folks, don't forget that) than they are to common sense legislation , it might take more free thinking European nations to show us the way.
To be truthful, I think that once a state of note (like California) or a nation we know is not a pack of socialist looney toons (like Great Britain) then the rest of the states will fall in line. While I do not trust politicians to ever look at people being oppressed and say "We have too much power over free people" and give the power back, I do trust that they are greedy and when shown that there is money to be made in the weed game then they will do what is right and free the weed.