A recent article on Stuff pointed out that there has been a number of police raids of cannabis plantations over the past few months. The justification for this is that cannabis is an illegal drug – and it has been made illegal because people believe that this is socially optimal. (Image source SMBC)
However, when I read the story this isn’t what went through my head. My first thought was crap – that will definitely drive up the demand for other drugs!
How does this work? Well cannabis is one in a array of drugs (including alcohol) which could be used for recreation – as a result these drugs are substitutes. If we increase the price of cannabis, then we increase the demand for other drugs. As these raids are destroying supplies, this will increase the price of cannabis – having that exact effect.
This concerns me, as I’m more concerned about individuals consuming and becoming addicted to higher level drugs (such as P) than I am about people getting stoned. As a result, I can easily conceive of a situation where these raids are not in the social interest.
Note: The purpose of the image is to create a counter-argument you can use to argue with me – and also because I find it funny in its sarcasm 🙂