“When it was first proposed, the concept of marijuana legalization seemed solid enough. Take the world’s most popular illicit substance, establish a taxed and regulated marketplace and watch all of the evil associated with the herb – the criminal activity, the youth consumption –fade away into a footnote of American history. And by all accounts, it was a plan that should have worked.
One of the biggest arguments made by cannabis advocates when trying to sell their spiel to politicians and voters was that legal weed would eliminate the black market. This, they said, would make it more difficult for children to get their hands on pot than in decades past while also generating significant tax revenue for the states. But the underground pot trade hasn’t really gone anywhere. In fact, it is only growing stronger now that criminal organizations have the luxury of being domestically based instead of running distribution from Mexico.
All one needs to do is take a look at California, which legalized the leaf a couple of years ago, to see that this is true.
There is simply no shortage of illicit operations (large and small) trying to capitalize on pot’s forward momentum. It’s a development that continues to benefit the average cannabis consumer, so they’re not really complaining. As I pointed out in a previous column for Forbes, “marijuana legalization breeds a better black market.” It’s a statement that seems to be more accurate with each passing day.
But once again, this is another fail.
Diehard cannabis advocates might argue that all of the black market madness exists because of conflicting federal and state law. There was even a point where I would have been inclined to agree that federal prohibition is the real monster behind all of this ruckus. But I’m not convinced at this juncture, at least not 100 percent. Why? Well, just take a look to the north in Canada, where marijuana has been legal nationwide for the past year. Its black market pot trade is still way stronger than the legal sector.
It could even be said that the push to convince the world that pot users are something they are not might be leading the cannabis trade to ruins. While the growing and selling of marijuana was once touted as a great job creator, many leading cannabis firms have been laying off hundreds of employees as of late. Canadian-based producer Hexo is slashing 200 jobs, while CannaTrust is cutting 140. In the United States, Eaze recently announced that it was eliminating 36 positions. The popular Weedmaps is also trimming the fat. The company says it will get rid of 100 employees.
Read more at Forbes