As more and more states move to legalize marijuana, all eyes are on the results. Will the sky fall? Will things get better? One argument from the pro-legalization side is that ending prohibition will eliminate the black market for marijuana. If people can buy it in stores, why would they go to a dealer? Anti-legalization advocates point to black market busts happening in states with legalized marijuana and say, "this hasn't changed anything." So what is the answer?
Legalization comes on a spectrum. If tough regulatory laws and heavy taxes burden the cannabis economy - the black market will continue. People will be drawn to the quality assured, risk-free benefits of buying legalized cannabis, but may be dissuaded if the price is twice that of the street rate. Harvard economist Jeffrey Miron takes a market-based look at legalization and the black market in this Denver Post article.