“…demonstrates how enormously effective prohibition of production and sale is at raising drug prices. For example heroin’s price took a decade to fall by 16 percent…”
Um… prohibition raises drug prices… followed by heroin’s price took a decade to FALL (during prohibition).
Prohibition is not really the issue here. Supply and demand determines pricing — regardless of legality.
Prohibition does not hinder supply nor demand by any concrete measure.
It’s absurd to compare cannabis with heroin in terms of supply and demand (including pricing).
Even when fully illegal, cannabis use was consistently annually reported to be about 75% of illicit drug use.
By stark contrast, heroin is equally consistently around 1-2%.
Cannabis is understandably a popular drug. Heroin is understandably not a popular drug.
Cannabis can be conveniently professionally grown in all 50 states, and a lot of people are growing it (a seriously booming industry), so supply can always easily outstrip demand — which means necessarily lowering prices ultimately dramatically.
That’s not anti-prohibition causing that decline, but just basic economics.
Prohibition seriously increases the risk against sellers (and such), so granted the price indeed rises above convenient legal access. In other words, black market supply is indeed costlier. However, competition even within the black market causes prices to drop.
Prohibitionists will likely proclaim that reduced cannabis prices means more users, which they believe is a bad thing (noting experimental science does not exist proving literally any harm in moderate cannabis use).
Apply that logic to heroin, and ending the brutally failed war on (some) drugs likely becomes harder — as the public will erroneously believe that cheap legal heroin will become grossly destructively popular.
Heroin is a risky painkiller and dangerous euphoriant with a hellish balancing health cost. It’s popularity will not likely increase upon ending the utterly failed drug war in favor of righteously treating all drug abuse as a health — not criminal — issue by any exercise of intelligence and civility.
I will never try heroin, meth, and so on — regardless of legal status.
Most Americans by far already agree with my stance on those drugs, given the low percentage of illicit users of such generally destructive drugs.
“These higher prices are one of the principal reasons (the others being stigma and fear of punishment) that illegal drugs are used so much less frequently than legal drugs such as alcohol and tobacco.”
Tobacco prices are through the roof due to taxation to force a decline in user numbers, but a lot of people still buy it.
Tobacco use has declined (without a prohibition) majorly twice, once because of the 1964 government announcement broadcasted about health problems from tobacco use, and the second because of the major national lawsuit in the 1990s against big tobacco companies (prominently broadcasted via mainstream news).
The reason alcohol is popular is because of ample entertainment delivering the message that alcohol is cool (e.g. beer ads during sporting events, jokes about drinking away problems in sitcoms, and so on).
Education (including entertainment) — not pricing — is why drugs become popular or not.
Cannabis will rise in popularity, because you know entertainment will continue to put it dominantly in a positive light.
Heroin will never see that popularity, because it will understandably never have that light (regardless of legal status).
Prompting article: Price of marijuana has collapsed in legal era