February 16, 2018, California
Due to glitches in the processes of licensing, the marijuana black market is still thriving in the Golden State in spite of legalization. But now it seems like the state authorities have decided to not put up with illegal marijuana activities anymore. They are now dealing with them with more stringent hands, which raises the questions regarding a smooth transition towards legalization.
California has a long history of illegal cannabis activities. Consumption of cannabis in the state has always been different even in the time of prohibition. Moreover, California is also famous for its cultivation activities all across the US. In days of blanket prohibition, people from all across the country considered California as one of the safest places to use weed.
Even now when cannabis is a complete legal commodity in the state, black market is dealing in dozens of tons of the strain. In Los Angeles alone, more than 200 different illegal cannabis establishments are operating, according to the Deputy Chief of LAPD.
All of these cannabis ventures are not illegal. They are considered ‘black market’ because they are not being conducted without having a license to operate and fail to comply with all the security protocols established by the regulators.
So, law enforcements in the state are cracking down on every venture they consider illegal. For instance, law enforcement personnel raided and sealed a retail shop and arrested three people including a security guard last week. There is a list with LAPD mentioning more than 15 cannabis ventures that might be raided in next few days.
It’s still unclear what motive these crackdowns because transition period in such scenarios of legalization provides enough time duration to illegal businesses to go legal. But authorities in the California are not giving providing much room to the black market to get into the legalized environment, especially when licensing procedure in the state is in all sorts of mess.
Some experts think that it might be law enforcement agencies’ reaction against a reality with which they are not quite familiar i.e. weed as a legal commodity. Others think it’s just a part of the mayhem that surrounds such transitions.
Nonetheless, we have been witnessing a significant and long lasting change in state. The same atmosphere was experienced by the state when medical cannabis got legalized in the state in the 90s.
Adult-use cannabis legalization in the state got approved in 2016 by the voters. With legalization, where cannabis advocates are over the moon, some tensions have also been created. Let’s take an example of Berkeley, a city in Northern California, which has passed a resolution to not comply with federal crack downs on cannabis operations. The resolution follows the annulment of Cole Memos by the US Attorney General, Jeff Sessions. People are now calling Berkeley a sanctuary city of marijuana. This is another feather in the cap of California, a state that has always been good towards the plant.