Thursday, March 01, 2007


UH Economist reports state could save $33 million by ending failed war on marijuana

University of Hawaii Economist Lawrence W. Boyd's report, just release by the Drug Policy Forum of Hawaii, concludes that the $10 million spent on enforcement has failed to reduce the availability of marijuana in Hawaii:
in fact, marijuana prices have dropped, indicating efforts to restrict supply through law enforcement have failed. Approximately 65 percent of marijuana cases are dismissed, not prosecuted, or stricken, making the risk of arrest or punishment for marijuana use low.
The DPFHI suggests that
Up to $33 million in new revenues and cost savings--enough to fund the entire statewide public library system, or ensure that all dams and reservoirs in Hawaii are safe--could be generated by a system of taxation and regulation to replace prohibition of marijuana in Hawaii,
Following Boyd's advice would be a process no doubt taking several years. How to start?
"The first step toward these savings is ending criminal penalties for possessing small amounts of marijuana," [DPFHI President Pamela] Lichty said. Senate Bill 1296 and House Bill 1711 now before the State Legislature would make possession of less than one ounce of marijuana a civil violation rather than a criminal one. "That would save state and county governments about $5 million each year, and help deal with serious drug issues such as crystal methamphetamine," Lichty said.
Boyd's report The Budgetary Implications of Marijuana Decriminalization and Legalization for Hawaii is available at the DPFHI website, in pdf form here, or as a text file here.

Perhaps another benefit might be that more police would be freed up to do the important work of enforcing our traffic laws and reducing the pedestrian death toll.


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