If Australia were to legalize marijuana they would save $1.2 billion each year, which doesn’t account for the potential billions that could be made in new taxes.
This is according to the Cannabis in Australia report by Penington Institute. The report also found that more than a third of Australians aged over 14 have used cannabis at least once, 37% of the population (7.6 million people).
The report found that over a recent two year period Australia spent $1.7 billion on law enforcement costs, including $1.1 billion on imprisonment, $475 million on police, $62 million on courts, $52 million on legal aid and prosecution, and $25 million on community corrections.
The report says that although Australia could save up to $850 million annually by decriminalizing marijuana possession, they could save $1.2 billion if marijuana was fully legalized.
“It is time to pull Australia into the present and capitalise on the many and varied opportunities that a proper, regulated cannabis market affords us”, said Penington Institute CEO John Ryan. “It also makes clear economic sense, allowing for taxation schemes to direct critical funding into prevention and treatment efforts.”
Greens senator, David Shoebridge, estimates that the black market pulls in around $25 billion every year from illegal cannabis Melbourne and Australia-wide.