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Marijuana Boosters Say California Legalization Would Save State Lots Of Cash

The pro-marijuana Drug Policy Alliance on Wednesday hailed a state Legislative Analyst's report (PDF) on Prop. 19, the November ballot initiative that would fully legalize marijuana in the state, saying, "The report found that Proposition 19 would enable California to steer police resources toward more pressing matters ... "

The actual report isn't as gung-ho for Prop. 19 as the Alliance, but it does in fact state that its passage could reduce correctional, court and law-enforcement costs.

The Alliance states that legalization could "generate hundreds of millions in revenue to fund vital services, and protect children, roadways, and workplaces."

The state analysis reads:

The measure could result in savings to the state and local governments by reducing the number of marijuana offenders incarcerated in state prisons and county jails, as well as the number placed under county probation or state parole supervision. These savings could reach several tens of millions of dollars annually.

... To the extent that a commercial marijuana industry developed in the state, however, we estimate that the state and local governments could eventually collect hundreds of millions of dollars annually in additional revenues.

The report also indicates possibly increased costs when it comes to "the number of individuals seeking publicly funded substance abuse treatment and other medical services."

Prop. 19 would legalize possession of up to 1 ounce of marijuana for those 21 and older. Cities and counties would be able to tax pot sales or outlaw them locally.

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