David Evans
This is the first of a series of papers exploring the economic and social costs of legalizing marijuana. The states of Washington and Colorado in the United Sates have legalized marijuana for recreational use. A number of other states have legalized crude marijuana for "medical" use. As these experiments go on, there will be more data to be recorded, analyzed and published. Our research will continue as to the impact of marijuana legalization and future papers will explore this new data. Future
more » ... is new data. Future papers will focus on specific economic issues relating to marijuana legalization. For example, papers will be published that will explore in more detail the environmental, medical, criminal, spiritual, productivity and other social costs of legalization. This paper will discuss the general economic and social arguments for legalizing marijuana then we will explore the general economic and social arguments against it. Finally, we will discuss the economic and social damage caused by "medical" marijuana. The "medical" marijuana argument is presented separately because some people, who do not favor legalization of marijuana for recreational purposes, favor its legal status as medicine. While the public health, safety, and productivity implications of marijuana use are amply documented, their dollar value has not been completely assessed to date.