CHICAGO — The cost of marijuana in Chicago is about $300 an ounce, about ten percent higher than the national average, according to a Washington Post analysis.
However, that price is down from $349 per ounce recorded in the first 3 months of 2011, says the Post's Wonkblog report.
Exactly what's behind fluctuations in the price of marijuana is not clear, says the Post, which tracked prices through websites where users post costs.
But, the report, which lists average prices in eight cities and all 50 states, said legalization of marijuana, either for recreational or medicinal purposes, tends to add to the supply and drive prices down.
Cheapest in the nation is Oregon; most expensive is North Dakota.
Illinois allows for the use of medical marijuana, though no dispensaries have opened yet for a variety of reasons. Meanwhile, state lawmakers have passed a bill removing criminal penalties for simple marijuana possession and the measure awaits action by Gov. Bruce Rauner, who has not weighed in on the effort.
Four states have legalized marijuana for recreational use — Colorado, Washington, Oregon and Alaska — and advocates have pushed for such an approach in Illinois. Dann Linn of executive director of the Illinois Chapter of NORML (National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws) estimates the state could raise as much as $100 million in new tax revenue.
But Rep. Lou Lang (D-Skokie), who sponsored legislation which legalized medical cannabis, said the problems launching prescribed weed make expanding availability unlikely anytime soon.
"If we can't run a medical marijuana program properly, we certainly can't run a recreational marijuana program," Lang told the Illinois Radio Network in May. "I keep my options open on that issue but I think it's premature to have that discussion."
An op-ed in the Los Angeles Times op-ed, co-authored by former federal drug czar William J. Bennett, author of "Going to Pot: Why the Rush to Legalize Marijuana Is Harming America," blames the "marijuana lobby" and says liberals have been joined by "many in the Republican party aiding and abetting this social collapse."
Marijuana is much more potent today than in the 1990s and "dangerous," he maintains, adding there is "a strong association of cannabis use with the onset of psychatric disorders."
"Abraham Lincoln said government's 'leading objective is to elevate the condition of men,' " Bennett said. "Overseeing or encouraging more marijuana use is just about the last thing a government trying to elevate the condition of men ... would do."
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