It’s the law of supply and demand in action: When a commodity is illegal, it tends to become scarcer and its price rises on the black market. Make it legal again, and its price will fall.
That’s been the case for marijuana, as this map by Frank Bi of Forbes shows. Marijuana is now a lot cheaper in the states that have legalized it than in the states that have not.
The map shows the average price of an ounce of high-quality marijuana in each state. The data is crowd-sourced via PriceofWeed.com, a website where people anonymously submit the cost of weed in their area.
Nationally, the average price of an ounce of weed is $324. But in four states that have legalized or decriminalized pot – Washington, Oregon, Colorado and Alaska — the price of an ounce of weed has fallen below $300. Oregon is the cheapest, where an ounce of high-quality marijuana goes for only $204, almost half the cost in North Dakota, the most expensive state.
In Washington, D.C., marijuana is legal for recreational use but not for commercial sale. Because of this restriction, the price of an ounce of weed is still relatively high, about $346, according to the data.
Many people argue that making drugs illegal restricts their availability and therefore their use. But some economists have long argued that making drugs illegal paradoxically fuels the drug trade. When drugs are illegal, the price goes up, encouraging people to grow, make or distribute illegal drugs.
Map republished courtesy of Frank Bi.