Passage of California's Proposition 19, the ballot initiative to legalize marijuana, would cause the price of the choicest pot to plunge to $38 an ounce, the Rand Corp. estimates. Grateful stoners might also enjoy the irony that they could end up paying the government more for their weed than they pay to growers; taxes as high as $50 an ounce have been discussed as one of the drivers for legalization. That would put the grand total in the neighborhood of $88 an ounce, an 80% drop from a current high of about $450, notes the Los Angeles Times.
The Rand report, the work of five prominent drug policy experts, found it impossible to estimate the tax benefits, but it noted legalization in California would cause the price of pot to drop across the nation, stimulate "marijuana tourism" in the Golden State, and disrupt smuggling from Mexico. Oh, and consumption would surely rise—maybe 50%, maybe 100%. And that, one legalization enthusiast notes, would just return the level of consumption to where it was in the late '70s.