A more specific scenario has been presented by the economists of the RAND Corporation, who projected the impact of legalization on the state of California. Their analysis focused on marijuana consumption by Past Month users. The California Society of Addiction Medicine offers a summary of their findings, some of which are:
- Cannabis legalization would plausibly lead to a 58 percent increase in consumption
- Increased consumption would result from price reduction and removal of legal penalties.
- Based on current prevalence rates, a 58% increase in consumption would likely generate an additional 305,000 users meeting DSM-IV criteria for marijuana abuse or dependence in California, for a total of 830,000.
- The price of marijuana will substantially decline, likely by more than 80 percent.
- The RAND report projects an average taxation rate of $50 per ounce.
- High taxation could create strong incentives for tax evasion and thus contribute to continuation of a black market for marijuana.
- High taxation may create incentives for users to switch to higher-potency forms of marijuana to minimize cost.
- Increased treatment admissions would result in a $1.5 million increase in cost, of which perhaps $1 million would fall on the taxpayer.
- Increased Emergency Department episodes would result in a $1.9 million to $2.6 million increase in cost.
(The RAND report numbers do not reflect increased costs to criminal justice, workplace productivity, educational failure, or lives derailed.)
If these RAND projections were scaled to the national level, marijuana use alone would quickly rise from the 22.2 million Past Month users of 2015 to become 35 million Past Month users.