Cannabis Legalisation Could Hit Illegal Drug Markets

17th May 2021

Researchers found that in states where cannabis has been legalised the illegal drug market has taken a massive hit.

A recently published study in the scientific journal Addiction displayed a rather damning picture for those on the black market in US states where recreational cannabis has been legalised.

Data shows that in the 17 US states (and in the District of Columbia) where everyone aged 21 and over is legally allowed to possess, use and supply limited amounts of cannabis for “recreational purposes” the black market has changed immensely.

As EurekaAlert! reports, it is believed that the cannabis laws are associated with:

  • 9.2% decrease in street/illegal cannabis prices.
  • 19.5% decrease in low-quality street/illegal cannabis prices.
  • 64% increase in heroin prices.
  • 54% increase in heroin potency.
  • 7.3% increase in street/illegal oxycodone prices.
  • 5.1% increase in street/illegal hydrocodone prices.
  • 93% decrease in law enforcement seizures of street/illegal cannabis.
  • >50% decrease in law enforcement seizures of heroin, oxycodone, and hydrocodone.

The lead author Dr Angélica Meinhofer said: “Our exploratory findings suggest that markets for illegal drugs may not be independent of legal cannabis market regulation.

“As more states move towards legalisation and additional post-RCL implementation data become available, we’ll need to do more research to determine whether recreational cannabis laws cause those changes in the illegal market and what happens in the long-term.”

While, as Dr Meinhofer said, we need more research on the topic, one thing looks certain: our streets are full of low-quality, dangerous substances.

If cannabis legalisation hit the black market, and those making massive profit by selling these dangerous drugs, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see more states and, eventually, some Western countries follow suit and change their cannabis policies in the very near future.

Let’s hope state leaders won’t hesitate to take the necessary steps.

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