One of the biggest and best arguments for legalizing the use of marijuana across the board for adults 21 and older is the fact that it could put an end to the dangerous and illegal black market. The implementation of dispensaries, commercial and small growing facilities, labs for testing, and home growing regulations of this plant are making access become increasingly easier – especially with integrated seed-to-sale systems.
When people can purchase cannabis from a source that can guarantee you that Girl Scout Cookies really is Girl Scout Cookies – and it can be purchased at a reasonable price – the black market will slowly die out, until they can no longer make money and move on to something else. Remember, a dispensary owner or budtender will ask for I.D. – a drug dealer won’t!
The benefits of legalization are plentiful and we might be seeing the first signs of the black markets’ downfall with the release of the latest data on federal marijuana trafficking, released recently by the United States Sentencing Commission. With a small increase just before 2012, since then there has been a steady decline in the number of people being arrested and convicted of marijuana trafficking on the federal level.
Of course, there are many variables that could have led to this decline, including efforts made by law enforcement, efforts made by smugglers to conceal contraband, and the amount of contraband being shipped. Along with this, there is also the theory that perhaps legalization is starting to make the impact we expected – and as legalization spreads throughout the country this may prove to be true if these numbers continue to decline.
While you can try to chalk it up to law enforcement getting more lax, smugglers getting smarter or shipping less cannabis across state lines, it’s a little too convenient that the decline came just after Colorado and Washington legalized marijuana for adult use in 2012. This also appears to contradict the theory that the potent Colorado marijuana has been making its way around the country – which was the basis for the court case against the state filed by Nebraska and Oklahoma, which was ultimately dismissed by a Supreme Court Judge.
Though there may be some cannabis from legal states making its way around the country, likely with tourists who bring it back on their road trips, it doesn’t appear that it is as big of a problem as neighboring states make it sound. My theory is that if legalization happens in a majority of the United States, we will see these numbers continue to fall until the day when it is available nationwide and the black market becomes irrelevant.