Pot prices could drop as much as 80 percent in California if Proposition 19, the weed-legalization measure on this November's ballot, passes, according to researchers at Rand's Drug Policy Research Center. Plus, weed would be legal.
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%.
(The research is heavily based on estimates and assumptions, and the published report is "peppered with caveats," so don't, like, place any bets, if that is something you were planning on doing.)
Thirty-eight bucks an ounce means a dime bag would be about a quarter instead of about a gram—which is how much pot cost when your mom and dad were smoking it and reading Stranger in a Strange Land. The lowered cost isn't just from a lower associated risk; unfortunately, marijuana growers would see their wages drop from $25 an hour to $10 an hour, commensurate with most plant nursery workers.
Not that it would necessarily be as cheap as all that—one proposal would tax the stuff at $50 an ounce, which the study says "creates an incentive for tax evasion." But, shit, $88 an ounce? Who would complain about that?