In a study released this May by the Centre for Addictions Research of British Columbia, it has been shown that 87% of cannabis users will substitute marijuana for alcohol, illicit drugs and prescription drugs. The results of the study say:
Substituting cannabis for one or more of alcohol, illicit drugs or prescription drugs was reported by 87% (n = 410) of respondents, with 80.3% reporting substitution for prescription drugs, 51.7% for alcohol, and 32.6% for illicit substances. Respondents who reported substituting cannabis for prescription drugs were more likely to report difficulty affording sufficient quantities of cannabis, and patients under 40 years of age were more likely to substitute cannabis for all three classes of substance than older patients.
It has long been known that the institutions and people behind anti-drug legalization efforts across the country are none other than pharmaceutical companies and police organizations. Pharmaceutical companies are obviously exposed to a loss in drug sales if marijuana legalization goes nation wide. This study would suggest that cannabis users would drop prescription medications in droves and would explain why drug company-funded research has long made a case against legalization, despite the fact that the list of medical uses of marijuana is ever growing.
Likewise, police bureaus have an interest in maintaining pot prohibition. Many police departments rely on asset seizures in drug busts as well as state and federal funding for drug suppression. According to government records, Justice department seizures in civil forfeitures went from $27 million in 1985 to $56 million in 1993 and $4.2 billion in 2012.
Even with legalization, the marijuana industry operates like a protection racket for state governments. In Oregon, where marijuana was legalized in 2015, tax revenue from sales of the formerly illicit drug is expected to be $43 million in 2016. A full 35% of that revenue is earmarked to go to state, county and local law enforcement after $12 million is taken out for the cost of regulating marijuana. That leaves an estimated $10.85 million in funding for law enforcement agencies in Oregon. And the drug busts continue. The most recent bust in Oregon was on June 29th when 6,500 marijuana plants were seized in an unlicensed grow operation in Yamhill County. The results of high taxation and regulation are artificially high prices for both legal and black market marijuana. A study published in January of 2016 by Perfect Price found that black market prices are lower in all states where marijuana is legal, but still extremely expensive at about $200 to $270 per ounce on the black market and $214 to $300 an ounce for legal marijuana from a dispensary.
With billions of dollars at stake, it can be certain that special interests will resist drug legalization. Where legalization is inevitable the government will ensure that it gets a taste of the profits; funnelling money to maintain it’s police state and monopoly. Can there be any doubt that the government is behaving like nothing more than an organized crime syndicate in this instance? The answer is to repeal all prohibition of marijuana and cease regulation of the marijuana industry. Allow recreational and medical users to grow their own marijuana, or buy it from whomever they choose.