Drug legalization was supposed to end the War on Drugs. We would all be living in a utopia filled with cheap drugs and lots of tax revenues that would make life better for… well somebody. The hilarious reality is one part Kafka, one part Orwell and two parts Newsom.
Every few months brings another massive bust. A 40-acre illegal pot farm in an obscure part of Death Valley, the “most elaborate illegal marijuana” setup in Mendota with 50,000 pot plants that was so big that police could smell it from 1,100 feet in the air, “vast groves” worth $169 million in the eastern Sierras, and $285 million in the old Shasta region of the gold rush.
In 2019, California seized almost 1 million pot plants. One busted operation not far from San Francisco was processing 500 pounds of marijuana a day.
Illegal drugs are bigger than ever and the “legal” drug market is struggling to take off. It turns out Mexican cartels make better business partners than California Democrats.
A glance at the members of the Cannabis Advisory Committee shows some of the special interests involved from the pot workers branch of the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union to the head of the California NAACP to environmentalists. Legal drugs means money for unions and community groups, which really means money for Democrats.
And less money for drug growers. This has created an even more confusing blurring of the lines in which legally grown marijuana gets sold on the black market.
The cultivator who operates the grow north of Sacramento holds a coveted state-issued license, permitting the business to produce and sell its plants. But it’s been virtually impossible for the grower to turn a profit in a struggling legal industry where wholesale prices for cannabis buds have plunged as much as 70% from a year ago, taxes approach 50% in some areas and customers find far better deals in the thriving underground marketplace.
So the company has two identities — one legal, the other illicit.
“We basically subsidize our white market with our black market,” said the cultivator, who agreed to speak with The Associated Press only on condition of anonymity to avoid possible prosecution.
The system is so loose, some legal farms move as much as 90% of their product into the illicit market, the grower added.
Can’t we just ban drugs again? It sounds simpler and a lot less confusing.