If you live in a state where recreational and/or medical marijuana are now legal, it’s easy to believe that black market cannabis is disappearing. Especially with the dispensaries and even cannabis lounges opening each day.
But that’s not the case.
Black market cannabis thrived during the early days of legalization when there were shortages, varying prices, and quality control that wasn’t so clear cut. Those days are gone though.
Yet even with the legal cannabis industry now exploding and strict quality control, there is still a surprisingly viable black market.
What Is Considered Black Market Cannabis?
In states where marijuana is legal, black market cannabis is considered anything that operates outside the regulated and legal framework set up by these individual states. This could be in the form of illegal online sources or unlicensed brick and mortar dispensaries. But more often than not, it’s old-school street dealers.
The fact is, local street dealers can still sell bud at lower prices than those growing and selling legally. They’re not required to pay the tax per ounce of flower they sell. Furthermore, their consumers aren’t subject to the excise fee when purchasing their product.
So yeah. The cannabis black market in the United States is anything but dead. In fact, in some states like California, it’s more alive than it has been in years. And this poses a serious health risk to those who opt for the black market route.
The Beauty of Testing
Before cannabis can be sold at a dispensary, it must be rigorously tested by a third party and meet a high set of standards. All licensed producers are required to produce a certificate of quality assurance by an accredited lab. This ensures that the cannabis adheres to the strict health standards set by each state’s governing body on cannabis.
The black market, on the other hand, has no such regulations. There are no safeguards in place to protect users from the very real dangers that black market cannabis can pose to their health.
Health Hazards of Black Market Cannabis
Without the rigors of lab testing, black market cannabis could be tainted with unhealthy levels of mold, fungus, and/or pesticides.
Consuming cannabis contaminated with mold and/or fungus can cause difficulty breathing, itchy eyes and skin, wheezing and a stuffy nose. While this may not seem like a big deal, it can be far more dangerous for folks with allergies to mold or a condition such as asthma. And those with lung disease or other chronic respiratory diseases are especially vulnerable to mold and fungus contamination.
Then there are the pesticides, which can be highly carcinogenic.
Buying from a legally licensed cannabis producer and retailer delivers peace of mind that you aren’t putting your health at risk. They are required to operate like any other businesses and therefore follow all of the protocols and laws to avoid facing legal action.
Buying Black Market Cannabis Doesn’t Make Sense
With so many reputable dispensaries and producers now available, there’s simply no reason to put your health at risk with black market cannabis. But it doesn’t look like it’s going anywhere soon.
In the meantime, you can continue to support the industry by purchasing only legal and SAFE marijuana.
And for more stories pertaining to the cannabis industry in Southeast Michigan and beyond, keep checking back with our blog!