Black market sales of marijuana thrived under a system that totally outlawed the drug. For decades, illicit sales lined the pockets of violent drug cartels and gangs. Legalizing marijuana, as California did with Prop. 64, would effectively quash this problem, or so it was believed. After all, when marijuana is sold in highly-regulated stores, it gives the government more control, it gives taxpayers a cut and it provides safe access for patients and users. However, recent analysis shows black market sales may not be completely eliminated.
The San Francisco Chronicle looked at this issue in weighing the makeup of the black market.
First, there is the fact the California grows more marijuana than is consumed by residents. Prop. 64 did nothing to effect the laws in other states, but interstate borders aren’t always policed to the point every person crossing from one state to the next with marijuana would be caught. Secondly, the law did not give a rubber stamp to all growers or sellers of marijuana. Sellers have to be licensed by a state agency, and they must comply with a long series of rules that detail everything from plant testing to packaging labels to tracking. Continue reading