In what many advocates of alternative or ‘black markets’ had been hoping for, the legalization of marijuana for recreational use has enabled ‘off-the-grid’ growers and sellers to expand their marketplace in Colorado. Image credit: Brett Levin Photography
Although many campaigns to legalize marijuana use the slogan “control and tax”, grass-roots marijuana markets have long scoffed at that idea. While acknowledging that it is vital to decriminalize and legalize all cannabis use, the entry of a third party –the government– into the market, would surely lead to inefficiency and bureaucracy replacing criminality. Therefore the news that broke this week from the Colorado Springs police vice and narcotics unit that the black market has actually grown under legalization is welcomed by those who wish to support their local growers and dealers and not have to pay the massive 25% tax.
In a statement to the Associate Press, Colorado Springs police Lieutenant Mark Comte said “Legalization has done nothing more than enhance the opportunity for the black market…If you can get it tax-free on the corner, you’re going to get it on the corner.”
While some mainstream ‘marijuana activists’ are who are in favor of the taxation and control of marijuana believe this is just a temporary symptom from the longtime criminality of weed, Officials in Washington State are bracing for a similar market reaction. Cmdr. Pat Slack of the Snohomish Regional Drug/Gang Task Force, outside Seattle told the AP ”There’s going to be a black market here”.
Predictably, mainstream news reports about the rise of the black market are highly misleading, regurgitating the talking points from an AP article that violent crime rates will rise due to the ‘under the table’ weed market. Unfortunately for them, recent research has shown that marijuana decriminalization lowers violent crime rates, even where recreational marijuana is still illegal and purchased on the black market. So much for that argument.
In a statement to The Anti-Media, a black market grower said the reason behind the growth of the black market in Colorado is, “Because people that were scared to use marijuana before because it was illegal are now using it freely and out in the open. However they don’t want to be over taxed for commercially grown marijuana and would rather buy high quality, specialized strains. Many people in the marijuana community dislike the government and do not want to add more money into their coffers. Doing business under the table is more beneficial for all parties involved in the transaction”
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Contributed by Nick Bernabe of The Anti-Media.