06/01/2010 05:12 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

California's Marijuana Economics

It's often said that California leads the nation. If the saying is true, then soon there could be more states considering recreational marijuana use. And as more people light up, these cash-strapped states would generate revenue from sales taxes on cannabis.

Californians head to the polls this November to consider the legalization of pot and, by extension, whether the state and local governments should receive income by taxing it.

The typical argument for legalization: pot is harmless, tax money spent on fighting it can be used better elsewhere, taxing sales of pot can generate money for needed social programs.

The standard claims against legalization: pot is not harmless and will increase public healthcare costs, pot is a 'gateway' to hard drugs, it fosters criminal activity.

While both sides have merit, when emotion is stripped from the debate, it becomes a simple economic issue. Watch as marijuana advocates and law enforcement spar over the "costs and revs" of legalization:

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