California Authorities Seize 9,000 Plants in Raid on Illegal Cannabis Grow-Op
Despite California having the biggest head start, the black market still persists with full force. Unfortunately, these are partly fueled by pricing differences and availability gaps – with communities opting out in large clusters, effectively leaving “dry areas” where dispensaries are unavailable.
Consequently, law enforcement has its hands full with drug dealers and grey market dispensaries dominating marijuana sales in the state.
Marijuana Business Daily shows just how extensive this illicit industry truly is, telling us about a recent raid.
The sheer magnitude of the operation clearly demonstrates that California is a long way from wiping out the black market.
Huge Effort by Law Enforcement
California’s black market continues to proliferate, but it is not due to lack of effort on part of the authorities. They have been very effective and finding and stopping unlicensed production.
According to Marijuana Business Daily:
“This [recent raid] – which took place in wine country’s famed Sonoma County – is part of an ongoing effort against the illicit market…Sonoma County officials have shuttered 863 unlicensed MJ grows in the past two years, according to the Chronicle.”
Unfortunately, the problem is that shutting down an operation simply means that another one will eventually rise to take its place. Despite their best efforts, authorities simply cannot rely on force to curb illegal sales.
The Need for Support
Law enforcement has a large role to play in the elimination of the black market, but they cannot do it alone.
Frankly, California’s inability to compete is due to the same reasons affecting Canada and virtually every other legal marijuana state.
Regulatory limitations and poorly thought-out dispensary distribution make legal marijuana less accessible, both logistically and financially.
It is simply impossible to compete with the lower prices and convenience of the black market. We also need to keep in mind that even illicit cannabis has its own version of brand loyalty. Buyers who purchased from a single dealer for years are unlikely to drop them, simply out of social attachment or a sense of obligation.
But as usual, the fault for this situation ultimately lies squarely on the government. High taxes on cannabis dispensaries drive up the price of legal cannabis.
Getting started in the business poses its own list of challenges, such as the licensing process.
The irony is that, in its effort to establish a competitive legal marijuana market, California has effectively shot itself in the foot. Ultimately, the only entity actually capable of opposing the black market is law enforcement.
The July 12th raid came after the property called attention to itself due to various code violations, including those related to cannabis growing equipment and production.
But when police raided the building, what they found was staggering. According to Marijuana Business Daily:
“…when county officials, including sheriff’s deputies, showed up Friday, they found 9,000 illegal cannabis plants and an unlicensed hash oil manufacturing laboratory…The bust is yet another indicator that California authorities have a long way to go before the legal MJ market fully replaces the demand for illicit cannabis.”
WeedAdvisor’s Support for the Legal Market
It is frustrating for us to watch the black market thrive in a place where it should be shrinking. While we applaud the efforts by law enforcement, it is quite clear that real change needs to come from the government and the consumer.
Regulatory changes need to take place and users need to deliberately support legal enterprises. These are the only ways to attack the black market.
One thing we hope to see is an improvement in the licensing process, which will allow more businesses to open and thrive. At that point, we offer an array of business solutions to maintain a dispensary. Some examples include POS, compliance, inventory management and even reward programs.