Who Is the Government Really Hurting By Arresting “Marijuana Criminals”?

Posted on Tuesday, May 15th, 2018 at 2:40 pm    

A recent big drug bust in Franklin County, Georgia confiscated $18 Million worth of high-grade marijuana. The marijuana grow operation equipment alone is valued at over $100,000. This is to say, this marijuana operation was very sophisticated.

The Franklin County Sheriff’s Office states, “This operation also had a cultivation room where the plants were dried, pruned, and put through a screen sifter to separate the marijuana buds from any waste.” So, why is this tremendous drug bust not beneficial to Georgia? Let’s do the math.

If there was over 100 pounds of finished product (not including the plants that were still producing), and that product was legally able to be sold within a regulated market, the taxes alone that would be paid to the state if they followed the same tax method as Colorado, which is a tax of only 2.9% (see Colorado Excise Tax here) would add up to $522,000. Wait, what? More than half of a million dollars just off of one producer of marijuana? That is a small portion of the marijuana revenue compared to California, who imposes a 15% tax on purchasers of cannabis products (See California Excise Tax here). So, say this amount of marijuana was sold in products in California. The taxes collected would be $2.7 Million.

So, not only does it take precious time and funds away from law enforcement to make a huge bust like this, for example, the low-level estimate that each state pays for every marijuana-related arrest is $750 according to the Huffington Post, and the jail costs to hold the marijuana producer, which costs around $95 a day (See Additional Marijuana Law Enforcement Costs here), but it also is taking away a plethora of tax dollars that could contribute to some of the areas that are suffering because of lack of revenue.

The bottom line, states that have not legalized medical marijuana are not just losing money from taxes that would be collected if medical marijuana were legal, states are spending untold amounts of money enforcing this law.