Dear amichaeln, thank you for making a point I resisted elaborating upon in my original article. I mentioned briefly that economics would dictate that, in a legal market, the price should drop. Thank you for pinning a number to it: 99% lower — i.e. the new price would be in the order of $1 000 per kilogram.
Here’s the critical difference between rhino horn and illegal drugs. Most of these substances are self-limiting. In other words, you can only consume so much before you become incapacitated (read: die). This removes you from the consumption pool either because you have enough sense to stop or you are unable to continue using the drug. The drug market then, is limited not entirely by price, but by survival of the user.
Not so with rhino horn. It is chemically similar to finger nails in chemical make-up and has a similar effect on the human constitution — nothing. You might find your calcium levels going up by an insignificant amount, but you will experience no detrimental side-effects whatsoever.
This means that users faced with a lower price could simply consume more. Furthermore, users who were formerly put off from using the substance would reconsider it. Again, this is different from other recreational drugs, because there are no side effects which would create inhibitions in a potential user. Legalisation of drugs has worked in some countries because the populace is educated enough to handle the decision themselves. Even failing that, even basic survival instincts would allow one to see a friend dying from consuming too much of something and hence resisting ingesting it.
Whilst I am the one who created the link to drugs by making the economic comparison, I would also like to point out the critical differences. I hope this has sufficed.
Thank you again for your response. I can see you share my concern. Let’s fix this together.