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A story in search of a purpose

Monday, Aug 26, 2019

* Sun-Times

Illinois’ illicit weed market is expected to remain lucrative for illegal pot growers and sellers even after the drug is fully legalized. That’s largely because state-licensed pot shops won’t be able to match the prices offered by the neighborhood weed man, whose business won’t be stifled by expensive licensing fees and high taxes.

Scroll down to the end of the same article

Five years after Colorado legalized weed for adult use, 82% of total consumers are purchasing pot through the legal market, according to Kagia.

Maybe that should’ve been at the top of the story? Colorado has long been a leader in the illicit cannabis market. And yet, legalization has almost fully taken hold there.

* Now go to the Daily Herald

Since Toronto’s Hunny Pot opened in April, pot consumers have beat a steady path to the door, company Communications Officer Cameron Brown said. The average purchase costs about $65 and the number of customers ranges from 1,500 to 2,000 a day.

With 56 strains of cannabis, the experience can be daunting for novices, so numerous “budtenders” or pot sommeliers hover around the shop to advise customers.

Shopper Rhys Paxton called his shopping “a good experience. … It’s a lot better than buying it in a dark alley.”

“Everyone has a different vision about what a marijuana dispensary is supposed to look like,” Brown said. “We take the stigma away.”

Your local weed dealer will never have 56 strains of cannabis for sale at the same time, along with a variety of edibles.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

25 Comments
  1. - Just Observing - Monday, Aug 26, 19 @ 9:24 am:

    === Your local weed dealer will never have 56 strains of cannabis for sale at the same time, along with a variety of edibles. ===

    Not to mention, purchasing in a licensed establishment gives the consumer peace of mind that the product is (relatively speaking) safe, and the potency is disclosed. Given the choice between an underground pot dealer with lower prices, or a well regulated licensed establishment with higher prices, many consumers will choose the latter.


  2. - @misterjayem - Monday, Aug 26, 19 @ 9:35 am:

    “state-licensed pot shops won’t be able to match the prices offered by the neighborhood weed man, whose business won’t be stifled by expensive licensing fees and high taxes.”

    The same logic explains why rum-runners and bathtub gin still plague our neighborhoods.

    – MrJM


  3. - Smalls - Monday, Aug 26, 19 @ 9:38 am:

    == Colorado has long been a leader in the illicit cannabis market. And yet, legalization has almost fully taken hold there.==

    There is one big difference between Colorado and the current law in Illinois. CO has 567 recreational dispensaries with less than half the population of IL. IL will only have 185. That is an issue.


  4. - Last Bull Moose - Monday, Aug 26, 19 @ 9:45 am:

    State officials must set their first priority as crippling the illegal drug market. Revenue is a secondary goal.

    Marijuana is a gateway drug when it is part of a marketing and distribution system that up sells to more dangerous drugs.


  5. - efudd - Monday, Aug 26, 19 @ 9:51 am:

    You don’t have to agree with it, heck, you don’t have to like it.
    But change in societal norms is inevitable.
    Now, go fix yourself a stiff drink and relax.


  6. - SAP - Monday, Aug 26, 19 @ 9:59 am:

    Looks like John Lee Pettimore is going to have to find a new line of work.


  7. - George - Monday, Aug 26, 19 @ 10:07 am:

    NPR’s Planet Money did a story about legal sex work. It is based on the research by economist Allison Schrager who wrote “An Economist Walks Into A Brothel.” Legal prostitution costs significantl more than illegal but there is a large demand for legal sex work (both by customers and providers) because of the risk reduction. I think the same will apply to pot. Listen to the story at:
    https://www.npr.org/sections/money/2019/04/02/709163600/what-sex-work-reveals-about-risk


  8. - Three Dimensional Checkers - Monday, Aug 26, 19 @ 10:09 am:

    I saw this On Point story a couple of days ago about legalization and the black market. It does seem like some of the black market wants to become a gray market and operate unlicensed dispensaries.

    https://www.wbur.org/onpoint/2019/08/21/marijuana-legal-illegal-weed-dispensary


  9. - Jocko - Monday, Aug 26, 19 @ 10:11 am:

    As others have stated, let’s not make better the enemy of good. Law enforcement has every reason to clamp down on the black market for public safety reasons…like deaths from tainted (albeit synthetic) marijuana.


  10. - West Side the Best Side - Monday, Aug 26, 19 @ 10:28 am:

    You won’t have to worry that the pot shop is going to pull out a gun in a dark alley and stick you up instead of selling you weed. How many stories have we seen about “a drug deal gone bad” and someone getting shot.


  11. - A guy - Monday, Aug 26, 19 @ 11:14 am:

    We still have a to go on “normalizing” a somewhat normal thing. With every passing day we’re getting there. Expect a few more of these stories until January, when the sun will still rise in the east and set in the west as it has in every state where legalization has occurred.


  12. - Langhorne - Monday, Aug 26, 19 @ 11:39 am:

    DH story—cops know pot car crashes will increase.

    Man, the pot dispensary marketing must be deliriously deliciously irresistible.

    Users will use. Nonusers wont. Cops can use the same field tests they use now.

    Years ago new lotteries hired ex-FBI as directors. Pot businesses will prob also hire some cops.


  13. - George - Monday, Aug 26, 19 @ 11:55 am:

    Some good news about pot - long promised but not delivered:
    DEA concedes that marijuana research monopoly must end, opening door to sweeping change
    https://thinkprogress.org/dea-concedes-that-marijuana-research-monopoly-must-end-opening-door-to-sweeping-change-2d60015acd1d/


  14. - JS Mill - Monday, Aug 26, 19 @ 11:57 am:

    =The same logic explains why rum-runners and bathtub gin still plague our neighborhoods.=

    It is like they have never ready a history book.


  15. - Kentucky Bluegrass x Featherbed Bent x Northern California Sinsemilla - Monday, Aug 26, 19 @ 12:03 pm:

    The near term problem is that there won’t be enough product for the legal market in Illinois in 2020. The current cultivators cannot keep up with the demand of the 80,000 patients and in a few months definitely won’t be able to keep up with the hundreds of thousands of adults looking to buy legally. Even after the state issues all the licenses allowed for in the law there will still be supply side issues. Maybe in 5 years the illicit market will start to dwindle and that is a good thing but the ILGA really gave a sweet deal to the folks in the medical cannabis industry.


  16. - Grandson of Man - Monday, Aug 26, 19 @ 12:03 pm:

    Congrats to Colorado. The legal market will bring in so many customers. It’s just amazing that we had the guts to make it happen, and said no more to the utterly broken system from which legitimate businesses were forbidden.


  17. - sulla - Monday, Aug 26, 19 @ 12:28 pm:

    “CO has 567 recreational dispensaries with less than half the population of IL. IL will only have 185. That is an issue.”

    I think it’s going to be worse than people realize. Cities are not moving fast enough to change their zoning laws and Jan. 1 is quickly approaching. My guess is that less than 10 new dispensaries manage to get open as of the first of the year.


  18. - Kane County Frank - Monday, Aug 26, 19 @ 12:54 pm:

    The Sun-Times has always hated legal pot. Their bias is glaring and now its starting to affect their reporting. This article Reefer Madness Pravda, nothing more.


  19. - Rabid - Monday, Aug 26, 19 @ 12:56 pm:

    Will recreational cut into medical inventory


  20. - R A T - Monday, Aug 26, 19 @ 1:57 pm:

    Forgive my ignorance here and it seems the google machine is being contradictory so I will ask here:

    Will these places still have to deal in cash only due to Federal laws?


  21. - Winderweezle - Monday, Aug 26, 19 @ 2:36 pm:

    =====Your local weed dealer will never have 56 strains of cannabis for sale at the same time, along with a variety of edibles.====

    This is the best point made to date on how legal sellers might dislodge the black market sellers. As a cannabis tee-totaler and a legalization skeptic (to a point) this argument makes sense.

    Make this point to the cities that don’t want to allow cannabis sales. It might get you somewhere.


  22. - Nick Name - Monday, Aug 26, 19 @ 2:54 pm:

    ===pot sommeliers===

    It is a good time to be alive.


  23. - Kelly Cassidy - Monday, Aug 26, 19 @ 3:14 pm:

    @Rabid: the bill requires that both cultivators and dispensaries reserve inventory for patients


  24. - Maryjane - Monday, Aug 26, 19 @ 4:20 pm:

    If I were a drinker, I’d sure as heck need one to deal with Illinois legal Cannabis issues.


  25. - Harvest76 - Monday, Aug 26, 19 @ 8:28 pm:

    ==Will these places still have to deal in cash only due to Federal laws?==

    I have been able to purchase using a credit/debit card in Oregon and Colorado. They are finding ways. Still, those dispensaries that still deal in cash only always have an ATM on-site!


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