I’ve already written 2 much earlier variations to this concern, so I’ll simply connect to them both in addition to a more anecdotal individual account .
Here’s the very first answer pasted in its totality:
Originally written at some point in 2012:
I had this composed in my head a month earlier however didn’t complete it, due to the fact that I got high .
Financially, lawfully, and morally, the war on drugs  has actually been an extended and pricey failure, and the benefits of legalization of (80-90%of all) drugs far surpass the costs.
For background, please read the 2011 Global Commission on Drug Policy report pointed out (and summed up) in my footnote 3 below and throughout this response.
My answer contains the following assumptions and qualifiers:
- By “legalization” I assume you mean to the exact same level as alcohol and cigarettes (i.e., still regulated, with prospective constraints based upon age and area (e.g., can’t do it in public)).
- By “drugs” I assume you mean “almost all currently illegal drugs.” Many drugs, even extremely harmful ones, are currently legal [See What is the world’s most harmful recreational drug? If you could only ensure your child didn’t ever use one drug, what would that drug be?]. My answer is focused on leisure drugs (e.g., pot, coke, MDMA, acid, and the majority of other hallucinogens) and not particular highly addictive and possibly hazardous drugs (e.g., heroin)– although the majority of those could be included in this answer without altering much.
I use pot as the example throughout my answer due to the fact that it: (i) is the closest to being legislated; (ii) would have the greatest and most instant economic impact upon legalization; (iii) is the one that I utilized and enjoyed the most out of the 10-15 different kinds of mind/experience altering “drugs” (both legal and illegal) that I have actually tried; and (iv) I was thoroughly stoned throughout the looking into, writing, and modifying sessions of the initial draft of this response
1) Possible tax revenue
Even most of the challengers of legalizing weed (and other drugs) concede that our government is failing by not taxing the shit out of it. Billions of dollars are spent making/growing, transferring, dealing/selling, and consuming (e.g., buying paraphenalia) drugs which the U.S. federal government could (and must) be taxing.
We as a country are giving drug dealers and makers a GIGANTIC tax break by enabling them to stay in the black market shadow economy
Quotes of just how much differ commonly According to CNN’s conservative estimate since June 2005, the U.S. federal government would have made near to a billion USD in additional tax profits if weed were legal
According to another (more current) source, legislating weed could bring up to $100 billion in extra tax dollars:
What about possible tax revenue? From Canada we’ve learned that the
production expense of (government-sponsored) cannabis is approximately 33 cents a
gram. Presently, U.S. marijuana customers pay at least $10 per gram
retail for illegal cannabis. If the expense of retailing and circulation
is the very same when it comes to legal tobacco cigarettes, about 10 cents a gram, then
offering the (legal) item at exactly the very same price as on the street
today ($10 per gram) could raise $40 billion to $100 billion in new
profits Not chump change. Government would just be transferring
revenue from arranged criminal activity to the general public bag.
A (fairly well estimated) $93 billion estimate can be found here (consists of cost savings from dropping the war on drugs):
What are the financial implications of legalizing drugs in America?
Numerous respected publications and journals have voiced similar opinions:
retired Orange County Superior Court Judge James Gray, a long time supporter of legalization, approximates that legalizing pot and hence ceasing to apprehend, prosecute and imprison nonviolent culprits could conserve the state $1 billion a year.
From an economic perspective, like cigarettes and alcohol, other drugs are perfect items to tax: inelastic need(e.g., prospective dependency) and unfavorable externalities ( i.e., we want to discourage it).
Jeffrey Miron, a Harvard economic expert and proponent of broad drug decriminalization, recommends that we look to alcohol and cigarette taxes as a
model for a possible marijuana tax. Even with so-called “sin taxes” of up to 90 percent of the total price, illegal markets, when prevalent, account for a small fraction of overall sales Miron alerts that initial marijuana taxes at such a level “would just be a total mess” due to the expansiveness of the black market and ease of growing cannabis in the house. Instead he suggests starting with a low tax– maybe at 25 percent of the overall price– and after that slowly increasing it.
2) Cost ineffectiveness and impracticality of enforcement
Regarding drug enforcement on an around the world level:
Detaining and jailing 10s of millions of these individuals in recent decades has filled prisons and destroyed lives and households without lowering the availability of illegal drugs or the power of criminal organizations. There seems almost no limit to the variety of people willing to participate in such activities to better their lives, attend to their households, or otherwise get away hardship. Drug control resources are better directed somewhere else. 
To take one city as an example: at a time when the joblessness rate in New York City was above 8.5%overall (and as high as 30-40%in some areas for black and Hispanic males), the city’s government is selecting to sink countless dollars on apprehending (and putting out of work) mainly black and Hispanic New Yorkers[for more on disproportionate racial effect of possession laws see point 3 below]
In 2010 for instance, 50,383 individuals were detained in New york city City for marijuana possession.
More people were arrested last year in New York City on charges of
marijuana possession than throughout the whole 19- year duration from 1978 to 1996, according to an analysis launched today by the Drug Policy Alliance. In 2015, the sixth year in a row that cannabis belongings arrests increased, 50,383 people were jailed, according to a report just recently launched by the New york city State Department of Bad Guy Justice Providers and gotten by the policy alliance, which advocates for reform of drug laws.
The figure adds up to 140 jails a day, making cannabis possession
the leading factor for arrest in the city, and represents an 8 percent
increase over 2009 and a 69 percent increase given that 2005, the alliance
reported in a declaration released Thursday.
In addition to the impact on those arrested, polices, attorneys, judges, and other members of police and the judiciary are required to process those 140 arrests per day. This comes at a time when the judiciary is more underfunded and overloaded than ever.
Judges in NYC just got their very first pay raise in 12 years. I sure marvel if needing to deal with 140 pot belongings arrests in the city a day makes it anymore fun to be a judge …
New York City as a city, and the U.S. as a country, would save incredible quantities of money, time, and effort if pot and other drugs were legal and such cases were gotten of the judicial system.
drug policies were initially developed and carried out in the hope of attaining outcomes in terms of a reduction in harms to individuals and society– less criminal activity, better health, and more financial and social development. However, we have mainly been measuring our success in the war on drugs by entirely various procedures– those that report on procedures, such as the variety of arrests, the amounts seized, or the cruelty of punishments. These indications may tell us how hard we are being, but they do not inform us how successful we remain in improving the ‘health and well-being of humanity‘. 
3) Uneven/ unfair application and racist result
Using New York City as an example: recent studies reveal that cannabis use is TWO TIMES as high among whites and yet 86%percent of those arrested for ownership are black or Latino .
New York City’s mayor Bloomberg has actually just recently received much positive press for contributing millions towards black and Hispanic youth initiatives , and yet under his administration, police officers were allowed to use stop and frisk policies to disproportionately target racial minorities and bad areas.
This racial disparity is not unique to NYC:
Now, two new reports, by The Sentencing Job and Human Rights Watch, have actually turned a critical spotlight on police’s frustrating focus on substance abuse in low-income metropolitan locations These reports reveal large disparities in the rate at which blacks and whites are apprehended and locked up for drug offenses, regardless of roughly equivalent rates of illegal drug use.
Apart from crowding jails, one result is a disastrous effect on the lives of black guys: they are nearly 12 times as likely to be put behind bars for drug convictions as adult white men, according to the Human Rights Enjoy report.
I only use New York City as an example because I live there, and I see men and women with cash and status order weed, coke, MDMA, etc. from shipment services who concern their apt (or office) bearing a cornucopia of illicit products. Police officers in the Bronx are separating mothers from their kids for having 10 grams of pot [See article link in fn 5].
4) Saving cash spent on (frequently inferior) replacement products
Pharmaceutical business, the psychiatry market, and the beer/wine/tobacco industries would all lose a great deal of money. I understand this is subjective, but I would not mind some of Philip Morris’ market share going to regional cannabis growers.
5) Possible decrease in criminal activity and the power of criminal organizations
Drug manufacture and distribution is a big source of earnings for criminal organizations such as the Mexican drug cartels. By legalizing, we would be taking in between 13 to 48 billion dollars of yearly income out of their pockets and shifting it to private company ( and federal government coffers via formerly talked about taxes)
6) Medical advantages
Yes, it’s already legislated for specific medical purposes. Complete legalization would not just expand potential benefits for any and all medical purposes but would also eliminate the stigma associated with its usage.
Even for permitted medical functions, there are clients who do not realize or aren’t exposed to the possible benefits:
We were naturally getting ready to make the magic happen again, however it never ever did. The pot just terrified her excessive. She was scared her good friend would be jailed for interstate drug trafficking, that my partner and I would be robbed in New Haven; she was afraid she ‘d become addicted or (à la “Reefer Madness”) go crazy. It was hard watching her turn down something that had so clearly alleviated her nausea and pain and– let’s confess– lightened her state of mind in the face of the awful truth that cancer had actually gotten into almost every vital organ. And it was even worse to view her pumped, rather, loaded with narcotics that made her feel terrible. The Percocet provided her a painfully dry mouth, but even ice chips made her heave. We were reduced to swabbing her lips with little sponges dipped in water, and waiting out her agony.
In addition to saving expenses invested in pharmaceutical drugs (as currently gone over in 4 above), legalization would allow weed to assist a larger range of people in pain and suffering.
7) Rights and fairness
As the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navanethem Pillay, has actually stated, “Individuals who use drugs do not forfeit their human rights. Frequently, drug users suffer discrimination, are forced to accept treatment, marginalized and typically harmed by methods which over-emphasize criminalization and punishment while under-emphasizing damage decrease and respect for human rights.”  
Alcohol and/or cigarettes are more harmful than weed and numerous other currently illegal drugs.
No one has ever smoked himself/herself to death or serious disease the method numerous Americans pass away of alcohol poisoning or get sent out to the hospital.
Drinking and smoking cigarettes have long been celebrated in our culture (e.g., Mad Men), however drug users are “stoners” and “druggies” and viewed as slackers and/or beyond the social norm. How is it reasonable to let someone drink himself/herself to death however not allow that person to do the same with any other drug?
8) Anecdotal/personal experience:
That leads me to my final example. As a result of the previously mentioned social stigma/bias against illegal compounds, I was previously anonymous for this response and lots of others The last 5 years have been the most effective and efficient (physically and mentally) of my life, despite being high for a good piece of the waking hours– I ‘d estimate the average to be in between 1/10 to 1/6.
As a final note, the mechanics of how legalization and/or decriminalization would work are beyond the scope of this answer. However, there have been other outstanding questions and responses that go into this (e.g., Would the decriminalization of all drugs work in the U.S.?).
I concur with the June 2011 suggestions of the Global Commission on Drug Policy. Now is the time for dispute and action.
 I got high for each writing and revising session of the original draft of this answer to show a point and battle a stereotype. Not my best response ever and took about 2x as long, however not awful either. Maybe a tad overboard on the footnotes …
 Global Commission on Drug Policy
The worldwide war on drugs has actually stopped working, with devastating effects for people and societies all over the world. Fifty years after the initiation of the UN Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, and 40 years after President Nixon introduced the United States federal government’s war on drugs, basic reforms in national and international drug control policies are urgently needed.
Large expenditures on criminalization and repressive steps directed at producers, traffickers and customers of illegal drugs have actually clearly failed to successfully cut supply or consumption. Evident triumphes in removing one source or trafficking company are negated practically instantly by the development of other sources and traffickers. Repressive efforts directed at consumers restrain public health procedures to reduce HIV/AIDS, overdose deaths and other hazardous repercussions of drug use. Government expenditures on futile supply decrease methods and imprisonment displace more affordable and evidence-based financial investments in need and harm decrease.
Here’s a MSNBC summary of the report if you’re too lazy to read the whole thing (though I extremely motivate you to at some time):
The worldwide war on drugs has failed and governments need to check out legalizing marijuana and other illegal drugs, according to a commission that consists of former heads of state, a former U.N. secretary-general and a service magnate.
A brand-new report by the Global Commission on Drug Policy argues that the decades-old worldwide “war on drugs has actually failed, with devastating repercussions for people and societies worldwide.” The 24- page paper was launched Thursday.
” Political leaders and public figures need to have the guts to articulate publicly what much of them acknowledge privately: that the evidence overwhelmingly shows that repressive methods will not resolve the drug issue, which the war on drugs has not, and can not, be won,” the report stated.
The 19- member commission includes former U.N. Secretary-General Kofi
Annan and former U.S. authorities George P. Schultz, who held cabinet posts
under U.S. Presidents Ronald Reagan and Richard Nixon.
Others include former U.S. Federal Reserve chairman Paul Volcker, previous presidents of Mexico, Brazil and Colombia, writers Carlos Fuentes and Mario Vargas Llosa, U.K. service magnate Richard Branson and the current prime minister of Greece …
… “It must take a look at the substantial expenses of jailing a great deal of individuals, the damage it’s done … (and) the extraordinary situation with armed disputes and militant groups– financed by intake in the U.S. and U.K.– killing British and American soldiers.”
Rather of punishing users who the report states “do no harm to others,” the commission argues that federal governments should end criminalization of drug use, experiment with legal models that would weaken organized crime distributes and use health and treatment services for drug-users in need.
Also, props to Ani Ravi (Quora user) for bringing the UN report to my attention a few months back.
Marijuana is the most typical illicit drug in New York City: 730,00 0
individuals, or 12 percent of people age 12 and older, use the drug at least
as soon as each year, according to city health data.
Over all, the rate of cannabis usage among whites is twice as high as amongst blacks and Hispanics in the city, the information reveal, however defense attorney stated these cases were hardly ever if ever filed against white moms and dads
Seventy percent of those detained are more youthful than 30, and 86 percent
are black or Latino, although, according to the Drug Policy Group,
” young whites use cannabis at greater rates.”
Ownership of less than 25 grams of marijuana has actually been a violation, not a jailable crime, in New York considering that1977 But having the drug “available to public” is a crime, and supporters say that many individuals who merely have marijuana in their pockets are charged with having it outdoors after officers buy them to clear their pockets.
U.S. Department of Justice estimates that wholesale earnings from illegal drug sales range from $136 billion to $484 billion annually
 Workplace of the United Nations High Commissioner for Person Rights (2009) High Commissioner requires concentrate on human rights and damage reduction in worldwide drug policy Geneva: United Nations http://www.ohchr.org/documents/P … Accessed 04.1811
* Dave Cheng’s answer to What are the strongest arguments for legalization/decriminalization of drugs in the United States?
Dave Cheng’s response to What are the greatest arguments for legalization/decriminalization of drugs in the United States?