The power of the free market is at it again. The laws of supply and demand – and not the laws of the gat, lead, or makers of Chicago overcoats – are in full effect when it comes to the production, distribution, and sale of marijuana. Over the last couple of years, a growing number of states have legalized marijuana for both medicinal and recreational use. But the latest market trend is not pleasing farmers and merchants: weed costs are plummeting. This will certainly make consumers – and the makers of Cheetos – satisfied.
BDS Analytics released new data last week that found that marijuana sales are increasing, but prices are coming down dramatically in states where it is legal, like Colorado and Washington. Since 2015, the average cost of a pound of weed has tumbled from $2,133 to $1,614.
In Colorado, the average price per gram has dropped from $9.38 in 2014 to $6.85 in 2017, while sales have jumped from 61 million grams to 65 million in that same period. In Washington state, the average price per gram cratered from $20.13 to $5.81, and sales have spiked from 1.7 million grams to 35 million.
The U.S. cannabis industry has exploded in recent years, ballooning to more than $6 billion annually. With many more jurisdictions expected to legalize weed, more marijuana is projected to be grown, which will curb prices and boost consumption. Indeed, planters and sellers are in a tight bind.
Economics is the Answer, Not Prohibition
We are already witnessing the effects of good old-fashioned economics when it comes to marijuana. Farmers need to reduce their expenses, sellers need to compete, and consumers can choose where to spend their dollars. Isn’t this a lot better than having people buy whacky tobacky from a shady, unscrupulous dealer in a dark alley or in a vehicle in the middle of nowhere?
For decades, marijuana has been illegal in the U.S. because the state thinks it can control what you put inside your own body. Who can forget about Nancy Reagan’s “just say no” campaign? Despite the public awareness efforts and tens of billions of dollars spent on cracking down on dealers, prohibition has been a massive failure.
Since the War on Drugs was declared in the 1960s, law enforcement has clamped down on anyone who has a stick of Mary Jane in their socks. As anyone who is serving 11 years in prison for selling a joint can attest, it has been risky to manufacture, sell and distribute, which added a price premium to weed. When you factor in the surging demand, marijuana prices became sky high, prompting anyone with the temerity to begin growing and selling.
Unfortunately, the black market generated a field of amateurs, many of whom turned to violence to control their respective market – or to bump off competitors. We witness the horrific acts unfolding south of the border, which then seeps into the U.S., causing particular “huge” leaders to propose even greater government solutions.
Three-time presidential candidate and former Congressman Ron Paul (R-TX) said it best:
If you want to put the drug dealers out of business overnight, legalize drugs.
Of course, when you partake in an illegal practice, it is determined by the state that you are a criminal, and you can potentially serve years in jail for selling a good that the public wants. This heads to a road less desired: one crime always leads to the next, destroying your life.
The black market also created a marketplace of deplorable products thanks to a paucity of brand awareness or economic transparency. You couldn’t compare items, write online testimonials, receive promotional discounts, determine ingredients, or hold makers accountable.
With marijuana being legalized across the country, researchers are more open to studying the health benefits of the plant without fear of being punished by the state. Last month, Liberty Nation reported that marijuana could help treat Tourette’s syndrome.
The War on Drugs is a War on Liberty
Yes, the state has opened up the drug market to permit medical marijuana – let’s face it: some freedom is better than no freedom at all. But the ultimate objective should be to legalize all drugs, not just marijuana: heroin, cocaine, crystal meth and all of the other drugs that are in demand.
If the U.S. government ended the drug war and legalized all drugs today, gang warfare would come to an end, the Mexican cartels would cease to exist, and millions of Americans would be released from penitentiaries. Think about how many lives would be saved, how many deaths would be prevented, and how much taxpayer money wouldn’t be squandered.
The prohibition of alcohol wreaked havoc on American streets. The story that played out produced many Hollywood classics, like “The Roaring Twenties” or “The Public Enemy,” but those pictures showed the real-world consequences of incogitant public policy, iniquitous thugs, and grafting politicians – all three persist today.
The drug issue is about personal choice, the U.S. constitution, crime, and economics. Central planning kills; let’s legalize freedom. Legendary free market economist Ludwig von Mises wrote:
Why limit the government’s benevolent providence to the protection of the individual’s body only? Is not the harm a man can inflict on his mind and soul even more disastrous than any bodily evils? Why not prevent him from reading bad books and seeing bad plays, from looking at bad paintings and statues and from hearing bad music?
Will the government stop us from reading “50 Shades of Gray” or hearing rap music? Actually, let’s not give the politicians any more bad ideas!
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