California’s Illegal Weed Industry Is Doing Better Than Ever
Those in the weed business have discovered that the black market is still more profitable in many ways than the newly legal industry.
Even though recreational (or “adult-use”) marijuana has been legal in the Golden State since January 1, the cannabis industry is still functioning largely as it has for for decades–in the shadows.
In fact, the situation become so dire that earlier this year, Governor Jerry Brown proposed allocating an extra $14 million of the state budget to policing unauthorized weed. The money would fund five teams within the state attorney general’s office that would focus on effort like “complex, large-scale financial and tax evasion investigations,” according to a statement from Brown. In June, however, the proposal was scrapped after a dispute over how to pay for it.
So cities throughout the state–including Los Angeles, widely recognized as the largest legal marijuana market in the US–continue to grapple with a unsanctioned industry. Six months into legalization, LA remains besieged by illegal businesses, said Adam Spiker, executive director of the cannabis trade group Southern California Coalition (SCC).
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