You’d be forgiven for thinking that just as soon as the powers that be finally see sense and do away with painfully outdated marijuana laws, the public wins. And not only does the public win, but the move also deals a hammer blow to the seedy depth of the underworld wherein illegal drug dealers and pushers no longer have a place on the market.
Unfortunately though, it isn’t always quite as cut and shut as it appears to be…or so is the lesson we are learning. The US has been making huge strides towards a brilliantly cannabis-liberal future as of late, but at the same time there’s an interesting/infuriating trend playing out for the country’s citizens. The basic long and short of it seems to be that when it comes to the legalization of medical marijuana, the newest states to throw their hats into the ring also tend to be the most expensive...and by a pretty huge margin too. When legislation is first introduced, programs are extremely strict which in turn breeds significantly more expensive medical marijuana than it perhaps needs to be.
The trouble is, the states just introducing medical marijuana policies and only just starting out on the path toward wider decriminalization are also inevitably the same states where growing your own pot for medicinal purposes is illegal. As such, patients in dire need of medical marijuana are unable to fill their own requirements manually, which in turn means they have little choice other than to pay exorbitant prices for the sparse legally available marijuana on sale.
Well, that or turn their attention and efforts back to the black market, which is exactly what a growing contingency of people are doing.
Surveys have shown that more medical marijuana patients are relying on the black market than going down authorized channels to get what they need. And in doing so they are breaking the law and putting themselves in harm’s way, not to mention taking the risk of being supplied with an inferior or potentially harmful product. Suffice to say, this is not what you’d call a very appealing checklist and so it’s pretty clear that those resorting to the black market are doing so not out of choice, but out of necessity. They desperately need medical marijuana for a variety of conditions but simply cannot afford to pay the kinds of prices being charged for legal pot provision. Or in other words, apparent efforts to open up and control the availability of medical marijuana as a means by which to put an end to the black market is in fact having the exact opposite effect.
Take Minnesota for example – the cannabis oil which is used as the base from which most medical marijuana products are made costs literally twice as much in Minnesota as it does in Colorado. And with Colorado also having joined the medical marijuana party relatively recently, cannabis oil can cost up to twice as much in Colorado as it costs in Oregon. Which in a strictly logical sense really doesn’t make sense at all as it is not as if any of the states are struggling with limited access to an asset that’s hard to come by or something that hasn’t been researched, studied and tested extensively enough to be controlled using simple common sense.
The trouble is, while ever lawmakers and policy planners continue to make things so much more convoluted than they need to be, it will be those who are already suffering who suffer the most. The medical marijuana industry has been overlooked and brushed to one side for decades at the expense of patients in dire need of help. So when things finally take a step in the right direction only to be then slapped with a gigantic and completely unrealistic price tag, it’s hardly surprising that most patients are doing as they have always done – playing right into the hands of black market criminals.