Side Effect Of Legal Pot: Police Budgets Take A Hit
Some U.S. states are viewing the legalization of marijuana as a chance to gain new sources of tax revenue. Several states allow its use for medical reasons; Colorado has approved its recreational use, and Washington will follow suit this year.
But the decriminalization of pot also stands to remove a funding source for police: property forfeitures from drug dealers. Such funding is “going up in smoke,” The Wall Street Journal reports.
Of the $6.5 billion in asset forfeitures in drug cases from 2002-2012, marijuana accounted for $1 billion, the Journal says, citing data from the U.S. Justice Department.
And while most cash generated from drug-related property forfeitures goes to the law enforcement agency that made the bust, tax money from legal marijuana sales goes to state and local governments. Police may get only a share of that money, or none at all.
In a graphic titled “Money Pot,” the Journal lists the 10 states that had the highest amounts of asset forfeitures processed by the U.S. government in that 10-year period. Here’s the list:
California — $181.4 million
New York — $101.3 million
Florida — $80.5 million
Texas — $64.3 million
Ohio — $39.2 million
Arizona — $36.8 million
Michigan — $36 million
North Carolina — $34.9 million
Georgia — $26.2 million