How National Recreational Legalization Could Destroy the Marijuana Black Market
Something that is seldom discussed, but incredibly relevant, is the presence of smuggled marijuana from legalized states into prohibition states. As states have legalized marijuana, prohibition states have seen an influx of high quality cannabis products. One factor that contributes to this trend is that historically marijuana illegally sold in the came from cartels south of our border. As higher quality marijuana has been produced and made more easily available to people in legalized states, the expectation of marijuana quality has changed. While still illegal in many states, not long ago consumers expected to buy low grade marijuana from a questionable dealer, but now engineered and specifically bred marijuana has entered the market. Since this “new” marijuana is so much better, many consumers have rejected the low quality buds. This lowered demand in legalized states for black market marijuana spills into prohibition states.
This change in quality demand has resulted in interstate trafficking to become the popular method of acquiring marijuana, and the top dogs in the black market are no longer doing business with foreign cartels for marijuana. Instead it is now mostly comprised of networks of individuals who traffic large amounts of marijuana from legal states to prohibition states. What does this mean for prohibition states?
As previously mentioned, legalized states have now moved their black market to bringing marijuana to prohibition states. Rarely is bud imported from one legalized state to another legalized state, which is why an influx of legalized product is pouring into the prohibition states. No longer will your average smoker settle for low grade cartel weed; now the demand is for product that has most likely originated and commercially advertised in a legalized state. Because marijuana is literally everywhere, in every state and every community, the question is raised: why not legalize it across the nation? What is the purpose of waiting? And as of right now, no one has a good answer. As stated in an article written by Forbes journalist Mike Adams, people do not need legalization to acquire marijuana, they need legalization to avoid prosecution for possessing it. The marijuana circulating in today’s communities is commonly advertised as a certain strain or potency level, which was never observed before the legalization of marijuana in the United States. Prohibition states that have yet to legalize must think about this, and the fact that despite prohibition, virtually anyone can acquire marijuana. By holding firm on archaic prohibition laws, it only perpetuates black market activity: the flow of marijuana coming from legalized states into prohibition states. With the increase in attention surrounding the marijuana debate, it makes you question whether you are a proponent of the legalization process, which arguably minimizes unregulated black market activity.