Social Question

jabbing532's avatar

About how much of taxpayers money is spent on the war on drugs?

Asked by jabbing532 (16 points ) January 1st, 2011

I smoke a lot of weed, and i am really not that educated in how it is doing on its path to legalization in the United States. But i think a really good reason it should become legal is because it would help the economy. I just hate how the government spends tax payers money on the war on drugs, while they could just sell weed and make a lot of money. The question is more out of curiosity than anything else.

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6 Answers

poisonedantidote's avatar

Last year the federal government spent about 15 billion dollars on it, and it is estimated that state and local government spent another 25 billion on it.

10,416 people arrested, 4501 of those people arrested over cannabis, 67 people total put in prison.

While 4501 people arrested in 2010 over cannabis may sound like a lot, it is nothing compared to 2009’s total of 858,408 people arrested over cannabis.

Source

marinelife's avatar

“The U.S. federal government spent over $15 billion dollars in 2010 on the War on Drugs, at a rate of about $500 per second.”

Source: Office of National Drug Control Policy

“State and local governments spent at least another 25 billion dollars.”

Drug Sense

Source: Jeffrey A. Miron & Kathrine Waldock: “The Budgetary Impact of Drug Prohibition,” 2010.

iamthemob's avatar

The numbers above are, of course, only the direct costs. When you factor in the considerable amount of violent crime attributable to black market warfare over drug turf, the numbers get even higher. And that’s still just the tip of the iceberg (or part of it).

poisonedantidote's avatar

I have been thinking on this some more and it really is amazing, 15 billion plus 25 billion comes to 40 billion bucks, and for these 40 billion they have managed to put 67 people in prison. Thats about half a billion bastard dollars per prisoner, how is that even possible? forget crack heads, give me the half a billion dollars and I will bring you Osama, hell, I’ll even throw in a few of his friends for free.

Those 67 people best be locked up in some kind of futuristic death-star orbiting pluto for that money.

iamthemob's avatar

@poisonedantidote – I’m fairly certain, although not positive, that the figures include incarceration of individuals previously arrested for drug crimes as well. About $14B appears to be dedicated to Corrections costs generally – which would be the annual expenditures for all those in prison, not just those arrested in the current year.

Also remember that the judicial costs would include appellate costs of people previously arrested – which, considering the amount of people in prison, could be significant.

poisonedantidote's avatar

Correction… I have just visited my source again, and all the numbers have gone up. It looks like i was mistaken in saying those where the stats for 2010, as it turns out, they are actually the stats for this year 2011. So yea, those 67 people that got put in prison, that is only today and yesterday, not all of 2010. Sorry for any confusion.

The 15 and 25 billion are correct and are for 2010, but everything else is for 2011.

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