In this series, I’ll take exactly 420 words of your day to discuss social, political, and legal topics related to the business and science of the emerging cannabis industry. I promise to address any feedback in the comments.
To set the mood, just listen to Cab Calloway tell you how it is…in 1932 (five years before cannabis became illegal in the United States).
Previous installments in this series:
- Gooey’s Coffee Shop Cannabis, Part 1
- Gooey’s Coffee Shop Cannabis, Part 2
- Gooey’s Coffee Shop Cannabis, Part 3
- Gooey’s Coffee Shop Cannabis, Part 4
- Gooey’s Coffee Shop Cannabis, Part 5
The Myth of the Dying Black Market
Last November, four states passed voter referendum measures that legalized adult possession and use of cannabis within their borders. Joining Alaska, Colorado, Oregon, and Washington was California, Maine, Massachusetts, and Nevada. I know, you’re saying, “Hey, Gooey, hasn’t California had legal weed for a long time? Like decades?”
Well, yes and no….
Proposition 215, which was passed by the voters of California in 1996 and spearheaded by San Francisco’s aging LGBTQA+ pot superhero Dennis Peron, deals strictly with medical cannabis. It was the first such law in the United States, pre-dating even Canada’s historic and ultra-progressive federal-level medical cannabis legislation that went into effect in mid 2001.
There’s a lot of talk in recent years about how legal cannabis kicks the bad guys out of town. The theory goes that pot legalization not only generates valuable tax revenues, but also chases the undesirables out of a community. You know, the mobsters and cartels and shady dudes outside the 7-11 in the middle of the night.
All of the states that have recently legalized adult use cannabis touted how legalization removes organized crime from the picture.
Not so fast….
Here’s my take on things: Local legal markets will do little to nothing to push out the black market. Like nada.
Now that I’ve been in California for more than a year and have spent quite a bit of time in both Humboldt County and Los Angeles, I’ve seen the cannabis industry from two market perspectives: Production and consumption.
As long as there are 42 states in which the adult use of cannabis is prohibited by law—and results in felony charges and possible jail time—there will be a healthy black market. The ability to purchase in markets where prices are driven down by competition (Los Angeles, Denver, Portland, etc.) but to sell in inflated markets fueled by prohibition will attract millions of Americans to break the law.
More on the topic of legalization + black markets next week….
— Gooey Rabinski
My thanks to Cleveland’s virtuoso blues guitarist Joe Rollin Porter for allowing me to continually bastardize his visage (this particular photo is from a fun craft beer-infused evening of Joe playing a small gig outside of Akron, Ohio in 2015).
All text and photos, unless otherwise noted, Copyright © 2003-2017 Gooey Rabinski. All Rights Reserved.
Gooey Rabinski is a technical writer, photographer, and compliance documentation specialist for cannabis businesses who has contributed feature articles to magazines and media outlets such as High Times, CannaBiz Journal, MERRY JANE, Emerald Magazine, Grow Magazine, Herb.co, The Kind, Skunk, Cannabis Culture, Whaxy, Heads, Weed World, Green Flower Media, Cannabis Health Journal, Green Thumb, and Treating Yourself.
He is the author of Understanding Medical Marijuana, available on Amazon Kindle.