Media Release 20 November 2018
Family First New Zealand says that a new study on the impact of marijuana legalisation in Colorado has found that for every one dollar in tax revenue from marijuana, the state spends $4.50 as a result of the effects of the consequences of legalisation. This study based on actual experience completely undermines the recent Drug Foundation cost benefit analysis of drug law reform.
The Colorado study used all available data from the state on hospitalisations, treatment for Cannabis Use Disorder (CUD), impaired driving, black market activity, and other parameters to determine the cost of legalisation – and because of the difficulty in calculating the cost of human addiction, is believed to be an underestimation of the true cost.
“The myth pushed internationally by drug advocates is ‘Let’s tax it and use the money to provide addiction services and build schools and hospitals and houses and (insert a great cause here)…’. But the marijuana industry and drug lobbyists are quick to overestimate large amounts of revenue from marijuana sales, but rarely fully recognises the societal costs of legalisation,” says Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ.
“Other societal costs not referred to by drug supporters include: greater other drug use, greater marijuana use among underage students, property and other economic damage, controlling an expanded black market, sales to minors, public intoxication, and other burdens. No policy is without its costs. Legalisation also results in administrative and enforcement costs, similar to alcohol regulation.”
Other findings from the study included:
- costs related to the healthcare system and from high school drop-outs are the largest cost contributors
- while people who attended college and use marijuana has grown since legalisation, marijuana use remains more prevalent in the population with less education
- research shows a connection between marijuana use and the use of alcohol and other substances
- yearly cost-estimates for marijuana users: $2,200 for heavy users, $1,250 for moderate users, $650 for light users ($US)
- in 2016, the marijuana industry was responsible for approximately 393,053 pounds of CO2 emissions
- marijuana packaging yielded over 18.78 million pieces of plastic
“Alcohol and tobacco have already warned us that tax revenue from marijuana sales will fall well short of the costs in New Zealand. Drug dealers and other criminals who derive huge profits from the drug trade will not cease criminal activity in the face of legalisation. A ‘regulated’ product is exactly why the black market will continue and thrive!” says Mr McCoskrie.
“If New Zealand legalised marijuana, Big Marijuana would be laughing all the way to the bank while communities would suffer, black markets would continue to thrive, and taxpayers would be left to foot the bill.”
“As ex-PM Helen Clark correctly said earlier this year, ‘The perfect day will be when we don’t collect a cent from tobacco tax because nobody is smoking.’ That ideal day also applies to marijuana and other drugs. Drug Free 2025 is the goal,” says Mr McCoskrie.