20 November 2011

The economics of marijuana

Excerpts from an essay at Cato Unbound:
The root purpose of marijuana Prohibition is to eliminate the marijuana market in order to decrease use... Such interdiction methods have become increasingly expensive since marijuana Prohibition began in 1937, and every taxpayer is footing the bill, year after year. The results have been abysmal. The United States currently spends approximately $8 billion a year on marijuana Prohibition enforcement...

Yet use has not decreased and is actually near record levels. This is a clear indication that despite the government’s attempts to eliminate this market, it is thriving...

The potential of the industry as a whole is frequently overlooked. Marijuana is by most estimates a more valuable commodity than corn and wheat combined, with experts estimating its annual value to be between $10 and $120 billion.
More at the link, via The Dish.


  1. Prohibition is a waste of police resources in my opinion. Growing, possessing, and using marijuana is a civil liberty in a free society. People should not have to justify their civil liberties to the government. Regardless of how you feel about local law enforcement cracking down on marijuana. I hope we can all agree that it should be a state level decision and not a federal prohibition. Here's how we can end the federal prohibition and restore power to the states. The proposed legislation is called H.R. 2306 and everyone should support the federal government getting out of state business.

    Tell your representatives -> http://pvox.co/CdiFqY

    "[Prohibition] attempts to control a man's appetite by legislation, and makes a crime out of things that are not crimes." - Abraham Lincoln

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  3. Much like the US would lose its mind to let women go topless (it would place people in danger), I have to wonder if the US is so far down the 'please tell me what to do' road that this freedom would also cause harm in a situation where none is warranted.
    Then again, 6am raids that kill folks for growing a plant does not make much sense either.

  4. The analogy being drawn by the "allowing women to be topless in public" comment is murky at best. Public decency laws have nothing to do with the prohibition of marijuana. If you planning on drawing the analogy - draw it out completely.

  5. As more and more baby-boomers reach retirement age and suffer pain from infirmities the more pressure there will be to legalize marijuana. Why wait until we retire? Simply because we will no longer have to worry about affecting our job status. Most of us boomers have smoked grass enough to know that the "killer weed" stories are bull and to know that a little grass will help our digestive problems, sleep problems, and minor pain problems. I currently take oxycontin for cervical and lumbar spine issues -- I could quit taking that medication today if I had access to pot. I could use it only when I had great pain and skip it altogether on days when the pain is minimal. With oxycontin I have to take it 3 times a day regardless of pain intensity so that I always have a steady threshold of the drug in my system.


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