Why we’re witnessing a massive crackdown on the black market

Published Oct 24, 2022 09:00 a.m. ET
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It’s not an uncommon image to long-time cannabis enthusiasts who’ve watched as hundreds of local black market dispensaries have been forcefully shuttered over the years, but legal weed seemed to usher in a time of tolerance. Law enforcement never stopped attacking illegal cannabis cultivation facilities, however, for the most part, those who set up shop to sell black market products have been left alone, and that is especially true for those who kept inner activities relatively quiet.

Incidents are slowly increasing

Unfortunately, the situation is changing, and raids of unlicensed cannabis stores are suddenly in the headlines again. The time of peace is over, and big legacy names like the Victoria Compassion Club are fighting to avoid charges and stay open. The odds are no longer in favour of those who are breaking the rules, and that’s becoming increasingly more obvious. What isn’t necessarily so apparent is the reasons why this is happening now. After years of relaxed enforcement, it’s a bit of a shock for consumers and black-market entrepreneurs alike, but it’s important to recognize that there is a perfectly reasonable explanation for this shift, even if you don’t necessarily agree with it.

Why this is happening now

In the beginning, legal players were too busy working hard to build an entire industry from the ground up because even though one had existed prior, it was not anywhere near compliant. There were licenses to get, buildings to lease, complicated bylaws to navigate, and a rush to score the ideal position, and since there weren’t too many competitors, the process was for those who made it was a relatively smooth one. A lucky few went from rags to riches, as others clamoured for a similar opportunity, but now the market is oversaturated in many areas.

These days you’ll find a new dispensary on nearly every street corner, resulting in an uneven balance. With only half of the consumers willing to shop legal weed, there are simply too many stores and not enough money to go around. This is the main driver behind this sudden move to take down black market competitors who are undercharging, something they can do when they don’t have so much red tape and costs to navigate through. Between low sales figures and competition that’s impossible to beat by price, store owners and companies have little choice but to put pressure on regulators to level the playing field.


What about the future?

The future isn’t looking too bright for those who choose to cheat the system by bringing unregulated, untested, and untaxed cannabis products to market, and that makes sense. If we want legal weed to flourish and grow, then they need to be able to operate in an industry that doesn’t have players who are being treated with a preference for fear of upsetting consumers.

In the end

As unfair as it may be, at the end of the day, it’s the only reasonable course of action aside from coaxing and guiding those who function outside of the legal market to a better, more legitimate way of doing business, and not all are willing to make the switch.

Why you shouldnt buy black market cannabis products


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