Patt Morrison for December 20, 2007

America's Top Cash Crop is Illegal!

With an estimated annual value of $35.8 billion - that surpasses the combined value of corn and wheat - marijuana production in the United States is enough to fund the entire operating budget of a small country. Imagine if marijuana were legalized, grown on a massive scale and commercialized just like any other vice product; the tax revenue possibilities are staggering, not to mention the money saved in law enforcement activities against marijuana growers, sellers and users. If policymakers could strip away the moral components of the argument against legalizing drugs, would it make economic sense to decriminalize pot? KPCC's tour of the underground economy continues, this time examining the massive black market for the whacky tabaccy.

* Jeffrey Miron, director of undergraduate studies at Harvard University's Department of Economics


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