One of the many campaign ideals presented by supporters of legal marijuana in Colorado back before the November, 2013 vote was the decrease in the amount of black market marijuana being sold in the state’s borders.
The ‘seed to sale’ or METRC (Marijuana Enforcement Tracking Reporting Compliance) system was instituted soon after legalization with the intention of eliminating black market marijuana by requiring seed-to-sale tracking of all products.
More recently, a bill passed by the Colorado legislature would further regulate marijuana caregivers, requiring they now register with the state in all instances and decreasing the number of plants allowed per caregiver.
Like any newly legalized substance, further and further regulations will be put into place to ensure utmost legality. The question is, is it working?
Black Market Boom? Or Bust?
It depends on with whom you speak.
According to an article published by IBT Pulse, the black market marijuana sales and dealers are currently in the time gap between a booming business before legalization, and a barren landscape afterwards. Things just take time, and the black market marijuana business is no different.
In the article, Derrick Levy speaks for most dispensary owners when he notes,
I think a year and a half ago, before the METRC program rolled out, there were probably a lot of people on the black market, but with this new program it’d be a lot of work.
He went on to say, “Black market marijuana dealers are gonna bleed each other out.”
Black market marijuana has greatly declined since legalization, but is definitely still around. This may go to explain a counter-argument from CBS4 that is certainly factually correct, but seemingly a bit short sighted.
In a story from the beginning of May of this year, CBS4 cites and interviews a multitude of black market marijuana dealers that advertise via Craigslist.
Profiled in the piece is what seems to be a thriving black market marijuana culture. Black market marijuana dealers have no lack of clientele in the piece, but this is where the story becomes a bit short-sighted and truth-bending.
Yes, the clientele is still there for black market marijuana dealers, but it has greatly diminished in recent months. Furthermore, as Levy suggests, this is merely the time period when black market marijuana sales begin to drastically decrease, but have not yet been fully eliminated.
For clarity, a good analogy would be: the CBS4 report is like a child getting an ‘A’ on an exam after getting all ‘Fs’ previously. If one looked only at the ‘A’ score, it could be concluded the student was studious. When looking at the entirety of the data (read: the decrease in black market marijuana deals), however, the true nature of the student – and therefore black market threat – is fully discovered.