The Santa Monica-based, nonprofit research institute predicted the cost of marijuana, which runs between $300 and $450 per ounce, could plunge to about $38 by eliminating the expense of compensating suppliers for the challenges of operating in the black market.
The researchers were not certain how much that decline in price might spur use, but noted that one typical estimate is that a 10% drop in price increases use by about 3%. Other factors, such as the elimination of legal risks, could also increase usage between 5% and 50%.Should California do it? Some arguments which have been made for it include:
1) Added tax revenues (X% of 20% vs. 0% of 100%);
2) A net loss of at least 80% to weed-related narco-criminal cash-flow and its resulting violence;
3) A steep decline in court and incarceration costs for minor criminals, as well as the ability to unclog the justice system for serious crimes, whether truly-dangerous-drug related or the kind of white-collar financial chicanery and political corruption that fuels American disgust and cynicism;
4) An instant leveling effect on many racial-profiling prosecution issues and unfair sentencing laws, with a concomitant if hard-to-calculate easing of race-related tension;
5) A pioneering example for other forward-looking and pragmatic states as well as the Federal government;
6) A much happier population with a whole lot more disposable income to reinject into the on-the-books economy.