Legal Weed? dispensaries, dealers, and doers: why weed needs to be decriminalized

A year ago, Fortune online reported that Colorado's legal marijuana industry is worth $1 billion. While business was booming in Denver, the current Canadian government was elected on a campaign promise to make marijuana legal and regulated but has failed in making any significant steps towards doing so with exception to a report released about the legalization task force.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau avoids a question about decriminalization of marijuana while in the process of legalization.

Notice how he didn't actually answer the question? That's because business as usual for the Liberal government means causing tensions for consumers and sellers while finding a means to have control over every aspect of marijuana legalization.

Dispensaries have sprouted all around Toronto, and have been raided by police and even robbed by bandits. Meanwhile, pot dealers have had to adjust to life with corporate competition and the unchanged fear of being arrested. The consumer however, has never had an easier time scoring strains that suit their needs.

A Case for Decriminalization

I spoke to an independent pot dealer about why weed should be made decriminalized during the time needed to instil legalization. Names have been changed to protect sources.

"There's a myth between street and dispensary quality product. Just because you're paying more doesn't mean you're not getting the same thing." - R (dealer)

Before dispensaries, R was the guy I used to get in contact with when I needed a refill on my prescription. I have been casually smoking weed for almost 10 years, practically my entire young adult life. I do it both for personal enjoyment and as a means of relieving myself of anxiety that I have had since an early age. When I asked R about whether dispensary weed is actually any better than the cheeba you find on the street, he insured me that both are coming from the same place.

"Because weed isn't decriminalized, the same guys that are selling on the streets are the ones putting up storefronts and even robbing them too." - R

R emphasized that the robberies were being committed by dealers whose business has been directly effected by the opening of these various dispensaries. He directed my attention to the similarities of what was going on in California early on in their trek towards legalization. Dispensaries are not reporting armed robberies because they have been actively raided by the police. R says that this situation reminds him of the wild west, where outlaws are going up against the established order and each other in a struggle to become more rich. He says that if weed was decriminalized the cops would be able to protect these businesses from being robbed while also allowing independent dealers to continue selling.

R says that street dealers have had to adapt to the opening of these dispensaries in three ways.

  1. Price drops
  2. Increase in "runners"
  3. New concentrates/product
"Socially, I think that legalization is a great idea. Unfortunately it's going to take a while until that's a reality." - R
R's Jar of AAAA Sour Diesel

R says that the price to buy AAAA grade marijuana from suppliers has dropped significantly. Sour Diesel (a top grade sativa) used to sell between $2800-$3000 per lb only a few years ago. Now however, you can find the same strains being sold for $2300-$2400 per lb. R says that this adjustment was made to combat the accessibility of dispensaries, who he says are overcharging consumers because they have to pay for store-front rent and employees.

"Runners" are people recruited by dealers to do deliveries and are typically paid with weed to smoke. In return the dealer gets more manpower to sell product without spending any money. New concentrates are edibles or oils that the dealers and suppliers strive to put out to their prime market. R says the goal is to offer clientele something different each time while still delivering the required product.

I wonder...

Should it be a levelled playing field for dispensaries and dealers if the end result will be that weed will be made legal? People shouldn't be robbing each other or getting arrested for selling marijuana to consenting adults. If this is the case, than why is it still illegal to sell weed when all of these dispensaries and dealers are still supplying the doers and profits are piling up and yet nothing's changing? What's criminal is all the people struggling financially, and socially from the repercussions of the criminalization of marijuana.

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