POLITICS

Why pot growers favor pot prohibition

By |
Politics,Beltway Confidential,Timothy P. Carney

They say pot-smoking is a victimless crime, but it turns out pot-legalization is hardly victimless. Consider the plight of marijuana growers:

[AP] If California legalizes marijuana, they say, it will drive down the price of their crop and damage not just their livelihoods but the entire economy along the state's rugged northern coast....

Local residents are so worried that pot farmers came together with officials in Humboldt County for a standing-room-only meeting Tuesday night where civic leaders, activists and growers brainstormed ideas for dealing with the threat.

This is a real-life example of a common analogy for rent-seeking -- the tale of the Baptist and the Bootlegger. Prohibition creates a barrier to entry, which drives up prices and profit margins. Lowering the government barriers to entry is good for consumers and would-be competitors, and bad for the incumbent businesses.

Nick Gillespie at Reason has a good blog post on this (including a parody video which this story has brought to life):

So we can all understand why pot growers might be nervous at the prospect of legalization. And hopefully they can understand why their fears about competition are no more compelling than those of any producer in a free-market economy.

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