Wednesday, February 7, 2024

Marijuana black market persists in CA (despite the beginning of a legal market)

 The LA Times has the story, about how legalization of marijuana in California so far failed to end the black market, complete with violence in the Southern California desert.

A massacre that killed 6 reveals the treacherous world of illegal pot in SoCal deserts, by SUMMER LIN, SALVADOR HERNANDEZ, KAREN GARCIA

"A Times investigation last year uncovered the proliferation of illegal cannabis in California after the passage of Proposition 64, which legalized the recreational use of marijuana in the state. Although the 2016 legislation promised voters that the legal market would hobble illegal trade and its associated violence, there has been a surge in the black market.

"Growers at illegal sites can avoid the expensive licensing fees and regulatory costs associated with legal farms. Violence is a looming threat at these operations, authorities said, because illicit harvests yield huge quantities of cash to operators who can’t use banks or law enforcement for protection.


"In 2019, an audit by the United Cannabis Business Assn. found nearly 3,000 unlicensed dispensaries and delivery services were operating in the state — at least three times more than legal, regulated businesses.


"Warrick wouldn’t comment on whether the slayings were cartel-related but said there were “certain things at the scene that show a level of violence that obviously raises some interesting questions for us.”

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