Would legalization help the economy?

The question is being asked everywhere. Would legalizing and then taxing pot help the economy? Just a few years ago you would not see the question being credence by mainstream media outlets like U.S. New & World Report or CBS News

UPDATE: CNN has this story on the looming legalization vote in California.

Last night pro pot former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson appeared on the Colbert Report to say prohibition has not only failed, but exacerbated the problem:

“I think 90 percent of the drug problem today is prohibition related.”

NORML has statistics that show that prohibition costs this nation $8.8 Billion annually, much of which comes from the state and local levels. Now add to that the cost keeping the people actually currently incarcerated, $3B and then we’re starting to talk about real money.

The argument can also be made that pot provides the cash flow for the Mexican cartels. Take away that revenue stream and the cartels might begin to have to curb their activity. It might be worth it since the war on drugs, in it’s current 25+ year existence, has done nothing to slow the spread of drugs and violence in this country.