Legalizing All Drugs Would Raise $100 Billion for U.S., Says Harvard Economist

First reported by Marijuana Moment, Miron’s latest financial forecasting for the Cato Institute examined data from the country’s emerging legal weed markets, projecting those trends to cover all federally scheduled substances. Replacing America’s War on Drugs with a regulated adult-use retail system, Miron estimates that local, state, and federal governments could rake in $106.7 billion in annual budget windfalls.

“Drug legalization affects various social outcomes,” Miron wrote in his report.

“Although media outlets and policymakers mostly focus on marijuana, the majority of budgetary gains would likely come from legalizing heroin and cocaine,” Miron wrote. If that trend were to continue, total legalization could lead to police departments diverting their funds to other enforcement areas instead of reducing overall budgets.

Outside of potential financial redirection from police departments, Miron does not explain other real-world impacts of ending prohibition across the board, including how much of that potential tax increase would need to be spent on health or addiction services.

“At both the federal and state levels, government budgets would benefit enormously from drug legalization policies,” Miron concluded.

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