Economics ARE always present when you buy something, anything….
In Colorado the new legal marijuana trade has jacked up prices…..
Some people want a cheaper alternative that ain’t taxed…
Camouflaged amid the legal medicinal and recreational marijuana market, the ever-adaptable underground market thrives. Some in law enforcement and on the street say it may be as strong as it’s ever been, so great is the unmet local and visitor demand.
That the black market bustles in the emerging days of legalization is not unexpected. By some reckonings, it will continue as long as residents of other states look to Colorado — and now Washington state — as the nation’s giant cannabis cookie jar. And, they add, as long as its legal retail competition keeps prices high and is taxed by state and local government at rates surpassing 30 percent.
“I don’t know who is buying for recreational use at dispensaries unless it’s white, middle-class people and out-of-towners,” Rudy Reddog Balles, a longtime community activist and mediator. “Everyone I know still has the guy on the street that they hook up with.”
This black market boom, the state argues, is a temporary situation. As more legal recreational dispensaries and growers enter the market, the market will do what it does with greater competition: adjust. Prices will fall. The illegal market will shrink accordingly.
In any case, these first curious months of the legal recreational market have laid bare a socioeconomic fault line. Resentment bubbles in the neighborhoods where marijuana has always been easy to get.
The resentment goes something like: We Latinos and African Americans from the ‘hood were stigmatized for marijuana use, disdained and disproportionately prosecuted in the war on drugs. We grew up in the culture of marijuana, with grandmothers who made oil from the plants and rubbed it on arthritic hands. We sold it as medicine. We sold it for profit and pleasure.
Now pot is legalized and who benefits? Rich people with their money to invest and their clean criminal records and 800 credit scores. And here we are again: on the outskirts of opportunity. A legion of entrepreneurs with big plans and rewired basements chafes with every monthly state tax revenue report…..
With legal marijuana sales will there STILL be cops locking people up for illegal growing and sales?Share on Facebook