Letter: Pot legalization could be a money saver

Re: "Where are the voices against pot legalization?" Brian Crosby's "The Whiteboard Jungle" column, May 23. I find it fascinating that according to Mr. Crosby, my being part of the 54% who supports legalizing marijuana confirms that I am high. Unfortunately, Mr. Crosby seems to believe if pot were legal, more people would become addicts.

Mr. Crosby should stop and ask himself this question, "If marijuana was legal, would I run out and become a user?" Most likely, that answer is a resounding "no."

This usage fallacy only perpetuates a war on drugs we are never going to win. According to the New York Times, the government has spent $20 billion to $25 billion a year on counter-narcotics efforts over the last decade.

According to Wikipedia, there are 2.3 million prisoners costing $24,000 per inmate per year and according to the Center For Economic and Policy Research, non-violent drug offenders now account for about one-fourth of those behind bars.

According to, many economists including Harvard economist Jeffrey Miron, suggest the legalization of marijuana could save nearly $8 billion by not having to enforce it and could save an additional $6 billion per year if the government taxed marijuana at rates similar to alcohol and tobacco.

According to, the estimated annual revenue that California would raise if it taxed and regulated the sale of marijuana is $1.4 billion. Since a Pew study says the nation spends only an average $11,665 per public school student, it seems likely that some of this money might just trickle down to benefit our educational system, which includes Mr. Crosby.

Gary Huerta
La Crescenta

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