Marijuana regulation won't lead to dropping prices, increased use nationwide, advocate says
Will pot prices drop and usage rise not just in Colorado but across the country if Amendment 64, the Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Act, passes? An author on a Washington, D.C. panel at the American Enterprise Institute seen in a video below thinks so -- but an Amendment 64 proponent calls the theory nonsense.
During this week's event, covered by the Los Angeles Times, Jonathan Caulkins, a Carnegie Mellon professor and co-author of the book Marijuana Legalization: What Everyone Needs to Know, pointed out that "legislation is unprecedented -- not even the Netherlands has done it." But thanks to Amendment 64, as well as weed-related proposals in Washington and Oregon, "it is entirely possible it will happen this year," he added.
If that happens, "the effects will be enormous," Caulkins stressed. In his view, pot's illegality keeps prices high, which prevents use from exploding. Should Amendment 64 win approval, he argued that more people would obtain grower's licenses, instantly transforming Colorado into what the Times describes as "a good home for exporters of marijuana."
As Caulkins put it, "They would be able to provide marijuana to New York state markets at one quarter of the current price," thereby putting pressure on the federal government to crack down or allow the situation to degenerate into economic chaos.
Is this scenario realistic? Not in the view of Amendment 64 supporter Brian Vicente.
"I think it's fundamentally false," he says. "I really don't think Professor Caulkins has even read the Colorado law, from what I could gather, or else he wouldn't draw these conclusions."
Examples? "When this passes, it would remain absolutely illegal for anyone to send marijuana out of state under both state and federal law, in the same way other portions of our state law remain in place, including making driving while impaired illegal. To his point, it would be a federal offense, and we assume the federal government isn't going to stop enforcing marijuana laws entirely as it impacts other states."
Additionally, he continues, "we can look to the other sixteen medical marijuana states where marijuana has been partially legalized for adult use -- and surrounding states haven't had these massive decreases in the price of marijuana, and usage rates have not skyrocketed. So really, his entire premise is flawed."
Page down to read more about the price-decline theory and see a video of the marijuana panel.