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One Year Into Legal Cannabis in California, Buyers Are Still Paying Black Market Prices

Why Is California Still Paying Black Market Prices for Legal Pot?
Photo Gracie Malley for Cannabis Now

Joint Opinions

One Year Into Legal Cannabis in California, Buyers Are Still Paying Black Market Prices

Here we are, a year after prohibition ended in California, paying corporate America top-dollar for mids.

In 2019, Californians find ourselves entered into an even-grayer marijuana marketplace. But as we wait patiently for Congress to catch up with the states that have taken it upon themselves to end the draconian prohibition of cannabis, we must face a harsh reality: We still pay black market prices for legal marijuana, the kind you grow without fear of arrest and helicopters.

Despite the tediousness of this waiting period, it’s not so bad. We have gone from sick people getting their doors kicked in and medicine chopped down to this shiny new era of legal cannabis — this new marketplace that knows little of the threats its forefathers faced. What is bad, though, is the blatant price gouging.

A Quick History Lesson

Providers in the legal market don’t have to deal with Bush-era busts or the modified tactics of Obama’s Department of Justice anymore. While the Oaksterdam raid and some larger tactical operations in the Emerald Triangle colored public perception of marijuana enforcement during those years, in reality, legal teams across the country also fought behind the scenes to keep dispensaries open.

Before California legalized adult-use cannabis, many growers and retailers didn’t own the properties they were operating in, so as not to risk the threat forfeiture if things went sideways. As opposed to kicking in the door, chopping the plants and grabbing the cameras, the DOJ went straight to the landlords with the threats. Many would close their doors, while others would spend years in court with the feds to stay open.

So back during prohibition, these people charged prices that took into account insane risk: the threat of losing their freedom and all their property. They did this to provide California’s residents, often patients, with high-end cannabis that was way better than what was coming stuffed in tires, surfboards and people from Mexico.

But now, 12 months into this grand California legalization experience, why are we paying the same prices we would have paid to the heroes of yesteryear to people who aren’t taking those kinds of risks… or growing pot that good?

The Big, Green Grift

How have these people with less than a few years in the game put this shroud over the basic concepts of supply and demand with their midsy-mid pot?

First of all, there’s the dearth of experience. Because of the strict regulations that accompanied legalization, so many of the OGs aren’t even here anymore.

While a few faces that sold medical cannabis during the second Bush administration made it all the way to 2019, those faces recognize fewer people every year as more and more folks backed by big money attempt to edge their way in. The ones that made it to this point are still around because they grew extraordinary pot, or because they had exceptionally shrewd business practices and cleaned their money before it was permit time.

This has left the market vulnerable to newcomers, and as a result, companies have been able to coerce the buyers to pay stupid prices for B-list bud.

The idea that the $60 eighth still exists in the wild, outside of Beverly Hills, San Francisco and Mountain View, is absolutely ridiculous. We’ve spotted acclaimed and head-approved brands like Str8organics, The Village or The Jungle Boys charging 20 percent less than some of these mids mills on plenty of occasions.

Just last summer we purchased an eighth of Purple Punch, widely dubbed the 2017 Strain of the Year, for $45. Now, when we crack open midsy jars of mystery purple with an aroma that’s two parts grapes and eight parts lawnmower trimmings, we see that glaring $60 price tag for the John Deere Purps and think back to that $45 Purple Punch, struck with dismay at how these things can exist in the same realities.

Has the fabric of reality been torn in half, forcing us through some terribly drawn out storyline featuring now-overpriced marijuana? It can’t be just us. Sadly, we’re all in this dimension together.

But despair not. At the end of the day, we do hold some power, in that we have control over what it takes to make us take out our wallets. So basically, let your money talk and stop paying $60 for mids.

TELL US, how do you feel about the price of marijuana in your area?

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