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Unclear on the concept

Thursday, Feb 13, 2020

* Center Squares

During a debate Tuesday about limiting the number of cannabis stores in Springfield, where there’s already one adult-use store and another on the way, Alderman Joe McMenamin said the illicit market in California, where cannabis has been legal for years, has surpassed the legal market.

The Los Angeles Times reported in September that California’s black market for cannabis was at least three times the size of the state’s regulated industry.

McMenamin said he suspected the same thing is happening in Illinois.

So, the illicit market has “surpassed the legal market”? I got news for you, the illicit market has existed for maybe 100 years. It’s pretty darned entrenched, thanks to national prohibition. The idea is to eventually “surpass” it with legalization. It won’t happen tomorrow. It won’t happen next year. But it will eventually happen.

Also, Ald. McMenamin has been a solid “No” vote on cannabis from the get-go. Thankfully, the rest of the city council isn’t so inclined. Everybody else on the council opposed that aforementioned proposal.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

31 Comments
  1. - efudd - Thursday, Feb 13, 20 @ 10:13 am:

    Yeah, the cartels have had a bit of a head start. Gonna take awhile to catch up.
    Is Alderman McMenamin going to vote against using the additional revenue that legal cannabis generates for city improvements?


  2. - Tawk - Thursday, Feb 13, 20 @ 10:15 am:

    Tough to surpass the illegal market when you wedge the price with high taxes. California is learning this the hard way. Illicit market way bigger than legal.


  3. - Anon - Thursday, Feb 13, 20 @ 10:18 am:

    With the easy ability to grow at home and tax free sales, it may be hard to ever totally clamp down on the black market. This isn’t liquor, anyone can grow a decent plant or two at home.


  4. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Feb 13, 20 @ 10:23 am:

    ===anyone can grow a decent plant or two at home===

    If that were true, more people would already be doing it.


  5. - Leatherneck - Thursday, Feb 13, 20 @ 10:25 am:

    “Is Alderman McMenamin going to vote against using the additional revenue that legal cannabis generates for city improvements?”

    Some of those “improvements” might go to fixing and construction on the “main street” of McMinamin’s ward, MacArthur Blvd. A legendary Springfield street that is sadly now riddled with business closures (including a former McDonald’s and most of Town and Country shopping center), payday loan/title places and the ilk, and a poor quality road surface.


  6. - Grandson of Man - Thursday, Feb 13, 20 @ 10:32 am:

    The illegal market “surpassed” the legal market 100% before legalization. Adding another dispensary would direct even more business away from the black market.

    Decades of marijuana prohibition caused the black market, so it’s pretty entrenched. But we’ve already had tens of millions of dollars go into the legal market, with so much more coming.


  7. - chuddery - Thursday, Feb 13, 20 @ 10:34 am:

    Growing in California makes abundant sense for cartels and other bad actors that want to supply all of the other states in the US where weed is illegal. You avoid having get past the border, you only have to worry about federal law enforcement, and you have access to professional and legitimate service professionals to run your business (banks, accountants, attorneys.)

    Obviously high taxes and incredibly tight regulations that choke off retail supply have an effect. But national legalization would likely decimate the black market for weed.


  8. - efudd - Thursday, Feb 13, 20 @ 10:35 am:

    “anyone can grow a decent plant”

    I was at a flea market/craft fair a few years ago. One of the vendors was selling smaller stuff, picture frames/small clocks, the like.
    Above his stall there was a sign that read
    “Of course you can make this at home, but will you?”


  9. - Commonsense in Illinois - Thursday, Feb 13, 20 @ 10:38 am:

    Joe McMenamin could probably use a few hits to even out…


  10. - Leatherneck - Thursday, Feb 13, 20 @ 10:41 am:

    Has Joe McMenamin ever considered moving about 8 miles southwest to Chatham? Perhaps even run for village trustee there?

    Chatham has banned cannabis sales in town.


  11. - truthteller - Thursday, Feb 13, 20 @ 10:42 am:

    we have issues in decatur as Howard Buffet has bought the city council and mayor to keep legal rec weed dispensaries out of Decatur as if that will have an impact on pot use. Other small towns around decatur will reap the revenue benefit as we go begging. Legal pot sales will sooner or later surpass the illicit trade as the profits start disappearing from the illegal sales. Matter of time


  12. - Anyone Remember - Thursday, Feb 13, 20 @ 10:49 am:

    Ald. McMenamin, aka “LAPD Detective Sgt. Joe Friday” needs to step out of his protective bubble and enter the real world.

    Leatherneck, the State is responsible for paving MacArthur. To his credit, McMenamin has tried to get IDOT to pave it and then hand it back to the City.
    https://www.sj-r.com/news/20190220/after-10-years-part-of-macarthur-boulevard-transferred-to-city-from-idot


  13. - A Jack - Thursday, Feb 13, 20 @ 10:58 am:

    The Alderman and a few other people need to take a course in college economics as well as 1920’s U.S. history. It is a simple matter of supply and demand. You do not limit demand by limiting legal supply. You only increase prices for the legal supply which encourages illegal supply.


  14. - Da Big Bad Wolf - Thursday, Feb 13, 20 @ 11:04 am:

    Like it or not, the friendly neighborhood drug dealer is a part of the community and has relationships with his clients. A person will have his grocer, his pastor, his barber and his drug dealer.
    What is encouraging to me are the lines at the dispensaries. Many people really do prefer to not break the law given the chance.


  15. - Demoralized - Thursday, Feb 13, 20 @ 11:10 am:

    ==Ald. McMenamin has been a solid “No” vote==

    He is a solid “No” vote on a lot of things that come before the city council. He doesn’t work or play well with others.


  16. - Nick Name - Thursday, Feb 13, 20 @ 11:37 am:

    ===This isn’t liquor===

    If you have ever tried brewing, winemaking, or especially distilling at home, you wouldn’t think any of those are easy.


  17. - PeoriaDem - Thursday, Feb 13, 20 @ 11:37 am:

    This article highlights another potential way to limit areas taking full advantage of this law. The numerous unelected zoning boards across the state that usually feed recommendations (or denials) to the relevant city councils.

    In Peoria recreational sales passed after public meetings where 90% of the people were in favor and 10% offered claims that cannabis would ruin the city. But cultivators and craft growers are finding that are local zoning board is made up of people who can only think of ways this is awful.

    Who then of course, hit up a bar after the meeting.


  18. - Generic Drone - Thursday, Feb 13, 20 @ 12:33 pm:

    Black market weed is cheaper.


  19. - Horseshoe Voter - Thursday, Feb 13, 20 @ 12:49 pm:

    Years ago in an article where Bernie Schoenburg predicted winners of local Spfld races, he predicted a McMennamin win because “yes, he’s a curmudgeon, but he’s THEIR curmudgeon.” That’s what we call him in our house. His curmudgeonity has only increased since then.


  20. - illinois_citizen - Thursday, Feb 13, 20 @ 1:01 pm:

    Illegal market will always be bigger especially when the product is 30 to 35% cheaper. You cannot tax this state into prosperity.


  21. - Da Big Bad Wolf - Thursday, Feb 13, 20 @ 1:05 pm:

    == Black market weed is cheaper.===
    I’ll take your word for it. Probably riskier too. To buy, to ingest, etc.


  22. - Me-ow - Thursday, Feb 13, 20 @ 1:33 pm:

    Sincerely, it is nice to see that some posters have a basic understanding of economics. Also consider this, the legal cannabis industry has successfully resulted in increasing the profit margin for the traditional sellers. Additional supply in the marketplace has dropped the raw material price for the traditional sellers. Consumers who are purchasing said commodity through their traditional supplier are paying more. When the consumers complain about the price increase from their traditional suppliers, the response is, “go to the state store and pay more”. And you-all thought the increased crime in the burbs since 1/1 was just a coincidence?


  23. - Da Big Bad Wolf - Thursday, Feb 13, 20 @ 1:57 pm:

    ===And you-all thought the increased crime in the burbs since 1/1 was just a coincidence?===
    What increased crime? Which suburbs?
    Uniform crime report lags a year so what data are we using?


  24. - Plutocrat03 - Thursday, Feb 13, 20 @ 2:10 pm:

    It naive to profess that the legal pot market will ever effectively compete to the illegal one.

    It’s simply business. The legal folks have to pay taxes on the product and overly complex and costly facilities on the production and distribution sides, employees need to be paid competitive wages and benefits. The illegal ones not so much. California, Washington and Colorado have substantial illegal markets in their respective states.
    Think Illinois will eliminate the black market when no one else has done so? Funny.


  25. - @misterjayem - Thursday, Feb 13, 20 @ 2:31 pm:

    It naive to profess that the legal pot market will ever effectively compete to the illegal one. It’s simply business. The legal folks have to pay taxes on the product and overly complex and costly facilities on the production and distribution sides, employees need to be paid competitive wages and benefits. The illegal ones not so much.

    And that’s why everyone in Illinois knows the name of their local moonshine bootlegger.

    – MrJM


  26. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Feb 13, 20 @ 2:36 pm:

    ===It naive to profess that the legal pot market will ever effectively compete===

    Labeling so you know what you’re actually buying.

    Content restrictions so you know you’re not buying bad stuff.

    Actual choice instead of whatever the dealer has today.

    Buying without worry of arrest.

    Those are just a few of the many advantages. Who’s naive?


  27. - XonXoff - Thursday, Feb 13, 20 @ 2:40 pm:

    == If that were true, more people would already be doing it. ==

    More people would already be doing it if it were legal. Homegrow, as written in the original bill, represented a reasonable degree of legalization. But it wouldn’t take much of a harvest to place oneself squarely into felony territory as things are today – unless one also wants to pony-up for an annual medical license.

    RE: California. Those OG Emerald Triangle growers are indeed missing the hay days of 5k/lb flower when it was illegal everywhere and they were selling into a virtual vacuum.


  28. - cover - Thursday, Feb 13, 20 @ 2:56 pm:

    = we have issues in decatur as Howard Buffet has bought the city council and mayor to keep legal rec weed dispensaries out of Decatur =

    Seems like a great opportunity for the Village of Harristown to approve a dispensary in its part of Wyckles Corner, convenient for folks visiting Pop’s Place and not too far from the interstate.


  29. - Osborne Smith III - Thursday, Feb 13, 20 @ 3:02 pm:

    Joe “Alderman No” McMenamin’s time on the Springfield City Council can’t come soon enough. That man is wholly incapable of working well with others and tries to bully other members of the Council on a regular basis during meetings.


  30. - Pundent - Thursday, Feb 13, 20 @ 3:06 pm:

    =Think Illinois will eliminate the black market when no one else has done so? Funny.=

    I don’t think anyone claimed that would be the case. But it’s also naive not to acknowledge that there are many individuals that don’t want to buy mystery weed in a back alley and go through the hassle of being arrested.


  31. - Grandson of Man - Thursday, Feb 13, 20 @ 3:07 pm:

    There is big demand for legal marijuana. Many just want to go to a store and not make illegal purchases. Many don’t know illegal dealers.

    When we’re fully up and running in a few years we should be d
    pulling in over $1 billion in annual sales revenue. That’s a heck of a lot of money going into the legal market.


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