|dc.description.abstract||The prohibition of marijuana and the "war on drugs" more generally is intended to raise drug prices, which, if demand is elastic, would result in a decrease in consumption.
How much does prohibition raise the retail price of marijuana?
The effectiveness of prohibition at elevating prices has been difficult to assess due to poor data and a lack of variation in the legality of marijuana.
I leverage a large, user-submitted database of marijuana purchases in the continental United States, variation in the legality of marijuana, and a spatio-temporal generalized additive model to assess the effectiveness of prohibition.
I find that state-level quasi-legalization, decriminalization, and legalization of medical marijuana have substantively small effects, suggesting that active enforcement is ineffective at raising marijuana prices and that passively imposed market inefficiencies are what keeps the unit price of marijuana high relative to its commercial farm-gate price.
Thus, federal, state, and local spending on marijuana prohibition could be put to better use.||