African Governments can introduce hemp seeds as a modern food staple crop and for the commercial materials made from them: cold pressed oil, shelled seeds (or hemp nuts), flour and protein powder.
Cannabis can be grown without pesticides, herbicides, and with reduced fertiliser inputs. The use of these agro-chemicals is not only expensive in economic terms, but damaging ecologically, both in the production processes, transportation, storage and handling, and to the ecology of an area.
Cannabis requires less water than cotton, when grown as a fibre. Hemp is suited to rotations as it is an annual and could be could be alley-cropped with leguminous trees or shrubs providing windbreaks. It replenishes and reconditions soil (by root binding) and preventing soil erosion. READ MORE
A 1986 Estimate is given by Kleiman, who puts 1986 consumption at the equivalent of 2700 metric tons of 6% THC cannabis; other trafficking-based estimates range as high as 4700 tons.20 Translated to the U.S, this would amount to over 60,000 retailers and 100,000 jobs. cannabis would also permit the agriculture of hemp, a versatile source of fiber, protein, biomass and oil, which was once one of America’s top crops. Hemp production might well rival that of other leading crops such as cotton or soy beans, which are currently on the order of $ 6 – 10 billion per year.
Save the considerable economic and social costs of the current criminal prohibition system. Current federal drug enforcement programs run at $13 billion per year. State and local programs are probably of similar or greater magnitude: in California, the Legislative Analyst’s Office estimated the cost of state drug enforcement programs at around $640 million per year in 1989-90, plus perhaps twice as much more in local expenditures.26 A sizable chunk of these costs involve cannabis, which accounts for 30% of drug arrests nationwide. Legalization of cannabis would also divert demand from other drugs, resulting in further savings. If legalization reduced current narcotics enforcement costs by one-third to one-fourth, it might save $6 – $9 billion per year.
The economic benefits of marijuana legalization are summarized in Table 2. The total direct savings to government in taxes and enforcement come to some $8 – $16 billion per year. These figures are somewhat lower than those sometimes bandied about in public discourse, as both legalizers and prohibitionists have a tendency to make consumption estimates that are in our opinion inflated. Nonetheless, the benefits of legalization seem both substantial and undeniable, and deserve to be taken seriously.
Economic Benefits of Cannabis Legalization
Excise Taxes $2.2 – $6.4 Billion
Sales Taxes $0.2 – $1.3 Billion
Enforcement Savings $6 – $9 Billion
Hemp Industry $6 – $10 Billion
Others: Spinoff industries, Reduced hard-drug and alcohol abuse
Dale Gieringer is coordinator of California NORML (National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws) and co-founder of the California Drug Policy Reform Coalition. He received his doctorate in Engineering-Economic Systems at Stanford.