Legalizing marijuana would bring gov't NIS 1.6b annually

Jerusalem Institute for Market Studies: Legalizing marijuana would generate NIS 950 million in taxes and save NIS 700 million in enforcement and penal costs.

The legalization of marijuana would generate NIS 950 billion a year in tax revenues and save NIS 700 million in the cost of enforcement and the penal system directly related to marijuana usage, says Jerusalem Institute for Market Studies (JIMS) in a new study. It says that at least 275,000 Israeli adults used marijuana in the past year, generating an estimated market of NIS 2.5 billion a year, all of it black market.

The study found that levying the cigarette tax rate on marijuana would generate NIS 950 million in taxes a year. The calculation is based on a similar study done in the US by Harvard economist Jeffery Miron

"More than 18,000 criminal cases are opened every year for cannabis-related offenses, 70% of them for personal consumption," says study co-author Yarden Gazit. "Cannabis-related offenses make for 5.2% of all criminal cases, 6.4% of all court decisions, and 5.4% of all criminal prisoners in Israel."

A survey commissioned by JIMS on marijuana legalization found that 14.5% of respondents admitted to having used marijuana in the past, and that 75% believe marijuana has legitimate medical uses. Israeli support for medical marijuana is similar to the level of support recorded in the US in a survey earlier this year. 26% of Israelis support legalization, while 64% oppose it. Support for legalization is higher among the secular and college educated. 38% off secular Israelis support legalization compared with 18% of national religious and only 4% of haredim (ultra-orthodox). 29% of college educated respondents support legalization, compared with 17% of respondents with a high school education or less. The Israeli public's support for legalization is lower than the rate recorded in the US, where 52% support legalization.

The survey was conducted by Kevoon for JIMS among 500 respondents representing representative sample of the Jewish population of Israel, with a maximum sampling error of 4.5%.

Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - - on October 3, 2013

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2013

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