To continue an argument I had with a friend…
From an article in the Hawaii Reporter:
The implied percentage increase in alcohol price, including the premium for breaking the law, decreased from 318 percent in 1921 to 171 percent of pre-Prohibition level in 1929. Simultaneously, enforcement costs rose from $2.2 million in 1921 to $10 million in 1925 and to $13.4 million in 1930.
So alcohol price spiked at over 3 times the market price right at the beginning of prohibition, and gradually settled to about 170% of market price. The volume of liquid consumed decreased, but the amount of pure alcohol consumed stayed about the same. People just shifted from beer to liquor. It makes sense that it’s more expensive to buy something when it’s more expensive to produce and distribute, and less expensive to buy when it’s easier to create and deliver. We can generalize this to the drug trade.
At the very least: if MJ were legalized, growing marijuana on one’s own property would cost exactly the same as it does now, minus the risk of getting caught (which is hefty).
But that’s just half of it. The war on drugs burdens the average taxpayer, too. State and federal prisons house about 350,000 drug offenders. That costs about 7.5 billion dollars per year.