This Sunday, 60 Minutes will run a piece about how the black market for cannabis continues to thrive in California, even with the plant being fully legalized for both medical and recreational purposes.
Although California was expected to pull in mountains of cash through regulatory and permitting fees, as well as tax revenues, those mountains actually look more like mole hills.
Bureaucrats in the Golden State have held hearings and put together working groups to figure out what went wrong. But you don’t need to be a genius to figure this one out.
The high cost of compliance, coupled with tax rates that no other industry would ever have to accept is making it incredibly easy for the black market to swoop in with much cheaper product. After all, the black market isn’t’ compliant, isn’t paying outrageous fees and taxes, and doesn’t have to abide by the regulatory minefield that continues to make it very difficult for legitimate businesses to operate in a profitable way.
This isn’t to say money isn’t being made, and some cannabis companies are doing well. But the bottom line is that this is simply an example of what happens when the government over-regulates and imposes draconian fees and taxes on those who are merely trying to make a living, create jobs, and build local economies.
As much as some folks don’t want to admit it, the reality is that the majority of lawmakers that have worked to legalize cannabis, have likely done so for the money – not because it’s the right thing to do.
Not because denying sick people their medicine is a violation of human rights.
Not because the foundation of cannabis prohibition was based on lies, misinformation, and blatant racism.
Not because personal sovereignty is a God-given right.
No, cannabis legalization exists because the powers that be have given their permission, as they know that there’s a lot of money to be made in the weed game. Of course, leave it to the government to actually NOT make good money selling drugs.
The bottom line is that the black market for cannabis will always thrive as long as the government tries to turn into a cash cow to pay for its own shortcomings and inability to spend tax dollars in a responsible way.