Regulation of Marijuana facing local challenges
With the recent legalization of marijuana in California, would-be growers and producers are, for the first time, experiencing greater hurdles than in the heady days of the black market. As argued by proponents of legalization over the years, government regulation of marijuana will result in less tax evasion, pollution and crime because of a combination of factors.
The most important of these factors will be the decrease of the price of the product due to the advent of huge, legal/corporate cultivation and distribution operations. With the price per pound plummeting (some have reported $800/lb, compared to upwards of $3000/lb during pre-legalization days), the opportunity costs no longer make remote, black market grows viable. When pot was at $3000/lb, it made sense to live off the grid, far away from the main roads (and the cops) and protected by unsavory itinerant labor. However, with the inevitable price drop, they will no longer command the same profit at market. There will still be markets across state lines, but even so, the general market price of legal pot in California, generally, should experience a downward pressure such that even pot intended for illegal export will be negatively affected. Right at this moment, there are black market growers desperately seeking a market for their product and finding few places where they can earn enough profit that will justify their businesses.
The second factor will be community backlash itself. Look no further than a recent opinion piece in the Ukiah Daily Journal (https://www.ukiahdailyjournal.com/opinion/20170423/in-our-opinion-growers-need-to-grow-up) regarding the raft of regulations and taxes passed by Mendocino County locals. As a result, growers are outraged by having to submit to a regulatory and tax structure. While Mendocino was widely believed to be the future Marijuana Mecca by growers and users alike, as it turns out, years of unregulated abuses by black market growers in the form of exposure to pollution, water theft, and criminal activity has apparently left a bad taste in the mouths of the voting public. This opinion piece makes clear that the marijuana grower’s vocal hysteria about having to pay taxes is particularly galling to the citizenry after decades of unmitigated profits at the community’s expense. The result: now that cultivators are forced from the shadows, they are facing substantial resistance from the people.
While the process of change will be difficult for some, the end result of the end of marijuana prohibition will likely result in a safer community. After all, you don’t see a lot of crime regarding moon shining anymore.