Dealing, buying or supplying on the cannabis black market is not worth the risk. Period.
Now that California and many other states have created legal markets, dealing in illegal cannabis only puts you and others at risk, whether you are a consumer or a supplier.
Risking public health and the environment
When you buy black market cannabis, you’re gambling with your health. Black market cannabis is likely to have illegal chemicals in it, and this is not a problem that is going away.
In Los Angeles, the city recently filed suit against an illegal retail shop for selling cannabis tainted with a toxic fungicide. That fungicide made its way into countless customers’ bodies.
Buying illegal cannabis from unlicensed businesses supports illegal growers who pollute the environment with the same chemicals you then ingest along with your black market cannabis. And some of those chemicals are extremely toxic, like carbofuran, a quarter-teaspoon of which can kill a lion or bear.
Risking your livelihood
When you cultivate or deal in cannabis on the black market, you’re risking your money, freedom and people’s lives.
On 4/20/19 of all days, authorities raided an illegal cannabis growing operation in the city of Riverside. Agents confiscated over 40,000 plants estimated to be worth $20 million on the black market.
While illegal operations on such a large scale are likely funded by deep criminal pockets that can afford to take hit after hit and move on to another illegal grow, authorities are ramping up enforcement across the board. Small farms that may want to become legal may have trouble navigating the system. And they can’t afford to take the risk of losing everything – they wouldn’t be able to start back up.
HARDCAR and Highroad are partnering to create a solution for small farms until California creates a model that works for small businesses as well as people with capital. Small farmers may have shallow pockets, but they depend on cannabis for their livelihood.
Selling on the black market is just as risky. In Los Angeles alone, “the city attorney’s office said it has filed 217 criminal cases involving illegal cannabis shops or delivery services in the last year, naming more than 800 defendants. At least 113 illegal dispensaries have been closed, officials said,” according to Leafly and the Associated Press.