The marijuana black market in the United States has been around for as long as cannabis laws have been invented. In fact, legislation actually highlights the scope and state of the underground market.
In the United States, the black market still dominates, even with 10 states — plus Washington D.C. — having already legalized cannabis entirely. Or maybe this meager number of states that have legalized recreational pot is the exact reason why. Whatever it is, the black market continues to thrive.
Now here are some facts about the black market that you ought to know.
1. Even in states that have already legalized cannabis, more people buy weed from the black market than from licensed dispensaries, thanks to high retail prices and licensing requirements.
In some states where cannabis is fully legal, the government is still struggling to curb black market activity. The main reason for this: excise and retail tax. The taxes imposed on legal cannabis products make the final retail price higher than what most weed consumers are comfortable paying. As a result, most users go back to the black market in search of a more affordable alternative.
As for producers, the long and stringent licensing process they have to go through, as well as the strict laboratory testing requirements, force them to just sell their products on the black market.
2. In 2016, America’s black market accounted for more than $46 billion in illegal cannabis sales.
The U.S. has a $52.5-billion cannabis market. Unfortunately, $46.4 billion has gone to illegal cannabis. This means that the legal recreational cannabis market is only contributing very little.
3. DEA cannabis seizures in 2017 fell 35%.
Statistics show that the cannabis seizures performed by the Drug Enforcement Administration fell from $12.8 million in 2016 to $8.3 million in 2017. This could mean that black market activity has gone down. Another factor could be the fact that the federal government is focusing less on the cannabis black market.
4. New York has the biggest cannabis black market in the U.S. and in the world.
New Yorkers consume the most cannabis per capita in the world. In 2017 alone, New York City consumed more than 77 tons of weed, according to data gathered by cannabis grow supply company Seedo. If the state of New York legalized recreational pot, the legal market is estimated to be worth $3.1 billion.
5. Violent crime rate along the U.S.-Mexico border decreased due to legalized cannabis.
According to research, legalizing medical marijuana in states that border Mexico resulted to a 12 percent decline in violent crime rates in the area. It is also likely that legalized recreational pot in California, Oregon, and Washington has had an even bigger impact on the fall of violent crimes along the U.S.-Mexico border.
6. Limiting at home cultivation of cannabis plants suppresses production of weed in the black market.
Restricting at-home cannabis cultivation or limiting the number of cannabis plants each household can grow will discourage black market producers from growing huge amounts of pot illegally in private homes.