The enforcement costs of prohibition are huge. In 2021 the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre reported that governments allocated AU$1.7 billion for drug policy. Law enforcement is given 66%, while harm reduction only gets 2%. This money would be better spent on rehabilitation, education and regulation. Tax dollars from the potentially huge industry could be used to provide jobs and develop sustainable industries. The underground market does an extremely poor job of keeping cannabis out of the hands of teenagers and others for whom it is contra-indicated. In the black market there is no quality control and no responsibility for the seller. A regulated market could better educate users to potential risks and prohibit sales to young people.
Falsely inflated prices give rise to massive dealer profitability and incentives for organised crime, with millions diverted to the black-market. High street prices impact heavily on frequent users. The poor, homeless and deprived may resort to crimes like theft. Prohibition breeds suspicion, fear, greed, and makes criminals out of otherwise law-abiding citizens. It restricts life prospects, employment opportunities and international travel. Unjust laws cause disrespect for authority and the justice system.
Prohibition panders to political opportunism and makes hypocrites of governments who support legal and unhealthy alcohol and tobacco industries. Prohibition hypocrisy and black market profitability invite corruption in the police force, judicial system, customs and other authority areas. Surrounded by a cloak of secrecy, it is harder for people to seek help, access information or rehabilitation. Cannabis users are probably the most persecuted minority on the planet.