(Alexandria, VA)-Today, Smart Approaches to Marijuana (SAM), the nation’s leading non-profit, non-partisan organization dedicated to promoting evidenced-based marijuana laws released the following statement in response to a new report by the marijuana industry on marijuana revenue:
“Like the tobacco industry before it, the Colorado marijuana lobby is touting marijuana as the panacea for every contemporary challenge Colorado faces,” said Kevin Sabet, President of SAM. “The truth is, the health and safety costs caused by the commercialization of marijuana far outweigh any revenues collected. Drug use and its consequences already cost U.S. taxpayers over $193 billion a year in lost productivity, health, and safety costs. That’s $3.3 billion annually in costs for Colorado, considered on a per capita basis—far more than pot tax revenues. In fact, Colorado is paying these costs already. For example, large businesses in Colorado now state that after legalization they have had to hire out-of-state residents in order to find drug-free employees.
“And even viewed solely in the context of Colorado’s educational needs, pot revenue is not newsworthy. The Colorado Department of Education indicates their schools require about $18 billion with a B in capital construction funds alone. Marijuana taxes do not even make a dent in this gap.
“It’s time for the marijuana industry to face the truth – they lied to voters and have failed to live up to their promises: Colorado faces a $700 million state budget deficit – and it is rising, not falling. Also, the state faces a thriving black market for marijuana despite legalization, and rising sales of alcohol. Waving around an oversized novelty check makes pot lobbyists feel good, but it does not help the families and communities who have to deal with the costs of marijuana commercialization.”
Smart Approaches to Marijuana (SAM) is a nonpartisan, non-profit alliance of physicians, policy makers, prevention workers, treatment and recovery professionals, scientists, and other concerned citizens opposed to marijuana legalization who want health and scientific evidence to guide marijuana policies. SAM has affiliates in more than 30 states.