Several jurisdictions around the world, such as the US states of California and Colorado, have legalised cannabis, also known as marijuana. In Australia, the Australian Capital Territory will become the first Australian jurisdiction to legalise recreational cannabis use on the last day of January 2020. What are the pros and cons of cannabis legalisation? To help us answer this question, we’re joined in the latest Economics Explained episode on cannabis by Dr Stephen Thornton of BG Economics, a Brisbane-based economic consulting firm specialising in the economics of social issues.
Use these timestamps to jump right to the highlights:
- 1:15 – overview of cannabis laws in US, Canada, and Australia
- 8:30 – why cannabis was banned in the first place – the Reefer Madness moral panic
- 12:00 – Stephen notes ex-Queensland Premier Campbell Newman has declared the war on drugs has failed
- 13:00 – economic consequences of prohibiting cannabis
- 19:30 – Stephen mentions cannabis price data are available via http://www.priceofweed.com/; Stephen has noted that, based on Price of Weed data, the black market price of cannabis in the non-legalised countries of Australia and UK is higher than the average price in Canada/California (approx. $200.00/ounce), with Australia approx. 40% higher and the UK approx. 25% higher
- 32:50 – discussion of Stephen’s preliminary cost-benefit analysis of legalising Cannabis in Queensland, The Economic and Social Benefits and Costs of Legalising Recreational Cannabis in Queensland, which received a couple of media mentions (e.g. this Brisbane Times article)
- 40:20 – discussion of US House of Representatives Judiciary Committee’s view on cannabis (e.g. see House panel approves of marijuana decriminalization, but it faces a long, hard road)
- 43:40 – Stephen mentions Australian Senate inquiry on Current barriers to patient access to medicinal cannabis in Australia
- 44:30- reference to share price surge of CannPal, which is developing medicinal cannabis-based products for pets
This episode was recorded on 6 January at the Adept Economics office, Spring Hill, Brisbane. Australia.