Legalizing recreational marijuana use would make it a lot cheaper and drive up consumption, according to a new study. This could doom Prop. 19, even in happy-go-lucky California.
High-powered marijuana that now costs $300 an ounce could drop in price by as much as 80 percent if Californians legalize recreational use by passing Prop. 19 in November, meaning Golden Staters could purchase the recreational drug for as little as $1.50 per joint.
That finding by the RAND Corporation, a California think-tank, is likely to perk up the ears of some 15 million Americans estimated to be regular marijuana users, 13 percent of whom live in California.
But it could also doom the prospect of Prop. 19 passing, as it's likely to foment opposition to the potentially deleterious effects of a proposed law that's already starting to lag in statewide polls.
Rock bottom prices and high availability, RAND researchers say, could increase usage by up to 150 percent even in a state where medical marijuana is available for those who can claim a wide variety of ailments as reasons why they need marijuana from state-certified dispensaries.
If Prop. 19 is successful, California would become the first state to legalize recreational use of marijuana, though the US Supreme Court likely would need to weigh in before it could be put into action.
The Field Poll, a statewide survey, indicated Friday that support for Prop. 19 had fallen since May: 48 percent of likely voters now oppose the idea and 44 percent support it. Not surprisingly, the poll found that a majority of young people and Democrats support the idea while a majority of older people and Republicans oppose it.