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There is a theory that the War on Drugs has morphed into a new strategy: Legalization or Regulations.

The main idea in this theory is that the strategy was to legalize cannabis, create all kinds of social equity programs that go nowhere, and then apply such difficult application processes, extremely high fees, legal and operational costs that only big money can possibly afford to open licensed cultivation, manufacture, distribution, or dispensary operations.

Part of the “legalization promise” included many great ideas about how the newly legal industry must ensure that the groups who have suffered the most under the War on Drugs can participate in the green rush. It seemed only fair that people who had been incarcerated or fined for possession of what is now a legal substance should enjoy the prosperity resulting from the legalization of cannabis as some compensation for the burden created by the War on Drugs and its concentration in Latino and Black communities.

Some even said that legalizing cannabis would be a great way to drive out the the gangs that controlled the illegal flow of drugs in this country. As it stands now, in California, it has been estimated that 80% of the Cannabis Market is illegal sales of cannabis in all its various forms. Marijuana sales have been conducted by unlicensed dispensaries and dealers that in some cases have been operating for decades. Those same Black Market businesses have been finding that it is unreasonably difficult to become licensed and, once licensed, the State of California and the local municipalities are so greedy and uncaring of the expense of opening up shop as a fully licensed and legal business, that it is far easier to continue operating in the Black Market. Nobody wants to run a Black Market business and take the risk of being shut down and suffering the legal penalties. However, licensed businesses are failing because of the burden of expense imposed by the authorities makes the legal product sold more expensive than the illegal Black Market weed. Also, in many cases, it is easier to find Black Market weed than it is to take a trip to another community where licensed dispensaries operate.

Not only that, the illegal dealers can protect their turf by working against legalization in their local communities. Marin County appears to be such a place. The “Home of 420” is oddly resistant to licensing dispensaries, distributors, delivery services, manufacturers, and cultivators. Just as many people are smoking marijuana in Marin County as there were buying it illegally from Humboldt growers since the 1960’s, perhaps even more people are involved. It is legal to possess and consume, but consumers buy their stash from the same Black Market sources that have been supplying them at much lower prices than at any licensed dispensary located miles away.

Although California Governor Gavin Newsom has sworn to solve all the problems created by the launch of cannabis legalization, there is such an emphasis on cannabis as the cure for the fiscal mess the State has created that even the best intentions are corrupted by the blind rush to make money through fees and taxation. Have they simply replaced predatory asset confiscation and fines with predatory taxes?


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Author

George

Founder & CEO of 420 College.

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