Two states became the first to legalize marijuana for recreational use Tuesday, but it's not just users that may get a high as a result.
Colorado and Washington state voted Tuesday night to legalize marijuana, sparking celebrations distinct but not mutually exclusive from those rooting for Barack Obama. But it's not just stoners and Democrats who should be exhaling a deep cough of relief -- economists too may find the news worthy of some bubbles or bubblers.
The states could see a major economic boon because of the legalization. The new measure is expected to bring the two states more than $550 million combined, with more than 300 economists previously estimating that legalizing pot could save the U.S. up to $14 billion a year. That's not even taking into account the extra Funyun consumption.
Here are 14 reasons why marijuana is good for the economy:
$13.7 Billion Saved On Prohibition Enforcement Costs
The government would save an estimated $13.7 billion on prohibition enforcement costs and tax revenue by legalizing marijuana, <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/04/17/economists-marijuana-legalization_n_1431840.html" target="_hplink">according to a paper endorsed by 300 economists</a>.
$500 Million In Tax Revenue For Washington State
It's estimated that Washington's legalization of marijuana could bring the state an<a href="http://www.wptv.com/dpp/news/national/marijuana-legalization-decision-washington-colorado-oregon-can-pot-stimulate-the-economy" target="_hplink"> additional $500 million in tax revenue</a>, WPTV reports.
$60 Million Saved By Colorado Legalization
Colorado's pot legalization legislation, Amendment 64, is estimated to create <a href="http://csbj.com/2012/11/02/marijuana-economic-stimulant-or-just-a-can-of-worms/" target="_hplink">$60 million for the state in combined savings and additional tax revenue</a>, Colorado Springs Business Journal reports.
Legalization Could Reduce Marijuana Prices
Marijuana users could see substantial savings due to marijuana legalization, as <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/11/07/legalizing-marijuana-washington-colorado_n_2088375.html?1352310298" target="_hplink">prices could fall by up to 100 times</a>, perhaps freeing up some cash to spend on other things.
Huge Prison Cost Savings
Inmates incarcerated on marijuana-related charges cost U.S. prisons $1 billion annually, according to a 2007 study, <a href="http://www.alternet.org/rights/47815/" target="_hplink">AlterNet reports</a>.
Marijuana Prohibition Costs Taxpayers $41.8 Billion A Year
Including lost tax revenues, a 2007 study found that enforcing the marijuana prohibition costs tax payers $41.8 billion annually, <a href="http://www.forbes.com/2007/09/29/marijuana-laws-work-biz-cx_qh_1001pot.html" target="_hplink">Forbes</a> reports.
California Marijuana Crop Worth $14 Billion A Year
Marijuana growers account for <a href="http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,1884956,00.html" target="_hplink">$14 billion a year in sales in California</a>, making it the state's most valuable cash crop, TIME reports.
Illegal Marijuana A $36 Billion A Year Industry
It's estimated that <a href="http://madamenoire.com/106691/capitalizing-on-the-billion-dollar-marijuana-industry/" target="_hplink">illegal marijuana is a $36 billion industry</a> in the U.S., MadameNoire reports.
Dispensary Ads Boost Newspapers' Revenue
The <em>Sacramento News and Review</em> saw a big boost in ad revenue when it offered advertising space for more than 60 medical marijuana dispensaries, enabling the publication to hire three additional employees, <a href="http://www.news10.net/news/local/article/144285/2/Marijuana-ads-mean-big-money-for-weekly-newspaper" target="_hplink">according to News 10</a>.
Mendocino Zip Tie Program Raised $600,000
Mendocino County, California's zip tie program aimed at regulating medical marijuana growing by charging permits for each plant raised <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/01/09/medical-marijuana-license-mendocino_n_1193198.html" target="_hplink">$600,000 in revenue in for the Sheriff's department</a> in 2011.
Oakland Raised More Than $1 Million In Marijuana Tax Revenue
The city of Oakland, California raised $1.3 million in tax revenue from medical marijuana dispensaries in 2011, 3 percent of the city's total business tax revenue, according to <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/12/us/cities-turn-to-a-crop-for-cash-medical-marijuana.html?_r=1" target="_hplink"><em>The New York Times</em></a>.
Colorado Pulls In $5 Million From Pot Sales Tax
In 2011, Colorado pulled in $5 milllion in sales taxes from medical marijuana businesses, <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/12/us/cities-turn-to-a-crop-for-cash-medical-marijuana.html?_r=1" target="_hplink"><em>The New York Times</em></a> reports.
Legal Marijuana Could Be $100 Billion Industry
Economist Stephen Easton estimated in 2010 that <a href="http://www.businessweek.com/debateroom/archives/2010/03/legalize_mariju.html" target="_hplink">legal marijuana could be a $45 to $100 billion industry</a>, <em>Bloomberg Businessweek</em> reports.
Each weGrow Center Creates 75 Jobs
When hydroponic marijuana growing supply chain weGrow opens a new store it <a href="http://aznow.biz/small-biz/wegrow-phoenix-opens-cultivates-opportunities-arizona)" target="_hplink">creates an estimated 75 jobs</a> indirectly, according to AZBusiness Magazine.