July 24, 2018
No matter what commodity is being bought and sold there, estimating the exact size and scope of any illicit market is nearly impossible. Nevertheless, there are some records that can be used to conclude a rough estimate. If we particularly talk about cannabis’s black market, then the amount of confiscated strain can help in approximating the actual market size. Even if the figure of confiscation can’t help in establishing the exact numbers, it can indicate whether the market is shrinking or expanding and how much.
With this methodology, GreenWave has estimated the change in the size of the illicit cannabis market in the last two years from the statistics of the DEA and Homeland Security. As per the data from 2016 and 2017, there has been a 35 percent drop in the confiscated cannabis contraband, which is also indicative of the drop in illicit sales. Difference between confiscated figures from 2016 and 2017 is the most drastic one if one compares the data from the past six years. Interestingly, from 2015 to 2016, there was an increase of 21 percent in the amount of confiscated illegal cannabis. The numbers established in the report encompasses state and border seizures both.
There are many caveats attached to this methodology. Therefore, one can’t use it as a scientifically driven number. Nevertheless, it is the most intelligent guess one could make about the status of the illicit market with the help of available information. Experts think that the reduction in the amount of confiscated strain can be an indication of more than one thing.
- It could be a sign of a shrunk production and sales of illegal marijuana.
- It might also be a demonstration of an increasing disinterest of law enforcement agencies to curb the illegal market.
- It also shows that the efficiency of DEA and other LEAs have been declined.
- It can also underline the obstacles faced by federal agencies as more states are legalizing cannabis.
Some other issues can also affect this correlation between seizures and illicit market sales. For instance, in the last two years, California has experienced the largest decline in the seizures (nearly 68 percent). But that doesn’t necessarily mean the illicit market in the state has also been shrunk because the majority of illegal cannabis produced in California ends up in other states.
Legalization is Definitely Playing its Part
Operating on the black market is always a risky business. Neither sellers nor buyers would want to persist with illicit transactions if they are given the opportunity to operate in a legal environment. In the last couple of years, statewide medical and adult-use legalizations have become rampant and this has definitely played its part in shrinking the size of the illicit cannabis market.
Unfavorable business conditions (high taxes, exhausting and thankless process of licensing etc) slow down the transition from illegal to legal market, nonetheless, it is still happening. As the legalization protocols will get mature by the time, the illicit cannabis market will be more shrunken.
Marijuana stays in the news, and Alice is always ready to keep us updated. A world traveler and lover of freedom, Alice knows what is going on, no matter where she roams. She specializes in marijuana legalization stories across the globe, with up to date... [read more]