Spending: Pot vs. Education

Wars are costly (and not just in a financial sense).  But some of the things our governments tends to “invest” in makes little sense.  The so-called “war on drugs” is one such example.  It’s woefully ineffective, extremely costly, and spreads some pretty irresponsible messages.  AlterNet reports in The War on Pot: America’s $42 Billion Annual Boondoggle:

What would you buy if you had an extra $42 billion to spend every year? What might our government buy if it suddenly had that much money dropped onto its lap every year?


For one thing, it might pay for the entire $7 billion annual increase in the State Children’s Health Insurance Program that President Bush is threatening to veto because of its cost — and there’d still be $35 billion left over.


Or perhaps you’d hire 880,000 schoolteachers at the average U.S. teacher salary of $47,602 per year.


Or give every one of our current teachers a 30 percent raise (at a cost of $15 billion, according to the American Federation of Teachers) and use what’s left to take a $27 billion whack out of the federal deficit.


Or use all $42 billion for a massive tax cut that would put an extra $140 in the pockets of every person in the country — $560 for a family of four.

Much of the $42B estimate comes from lost tax revenues.  By keeping marijuana illegal, it cannot be legally taxed (like alcohol and cigarettes).  Of course, law enforcement isn’t cheap, either.

Clearly, there are better things we could spend our money on.  Perhaps through improved education, this wouldn’t be such a problem.  The ironic thing is that, supposedly, one of the harmful effects of smoking pot is that it will hurt childrens’ learning.  But doesn’t this just give them the same punishment without using weed as a “middle-man”?


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