Who Cares About Marijuana?

(Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)

(Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)

If you have no intention of using marijuana — medically or recreationally — you may watch all of the news reports, and maybe even read some of the publications about legalization and think to yourself “I really don’t care either way. As long as legalizing the substance doesn’t have a negative impact on me or anyone I care about, then que sera sera.”

According to a Gallup poll from October, around 2% of us fall into this “no opinion” group. The majority of Americans (51%), however, say the drug should be legal. This is in spite of the fact that only 38% of Americans admit to ever trying marijuana, as of last year when Gallup asked Americans of all ages.

We as a society sometimes forget about this group of individuals — those who take no stance. The strongest opinions are often the loudest, and we may hear those who are strongly “pro” this issue and strongly “against” that issue, but seldom hear about those who honestly and sincerely have no opinion, either way. These individuals either don’t want to get involved, don’t care, or they examine both sides of the issue and determine that either way will produce an equally desirable (or undesirable) result.

For the purpose of this discussion, let’s remove most of the arguments pertaining to fairness and safety from the equation (Is it safer than alcohol, which is legal? Can it cause death? Is it medically beneficial?). Remaining focused on the bottom line alone, does it make financial sense to legalize this substance?

Of course, it will bring in tax revenues for the governments that legalize it. But at the end of the day, do the financial benefits outweigh the costs for everyone — especially taxpayers? Will legalizing this substance reduce my taxes? How will it impact my wallet?