California declares war on illegal cannabis

California declares war on illegal cannabis

The State of California begins its most aggressive campaign against the illegal sale of cannabis, which represents 80% of total sales

When 80% of cannabis sales are made through the illegal market in the most prosperous and richest state in the United States, you have to ask why.

The cause of this fact lies in two major problems: the too high prices of the legal market and the bureaucratic difficulties that exist to obtain a license. In we have already published the articles “Prices of legal and illegal marijuana in the US” and “The illegal cannabis market increases in California after legalization”. The reading of these two articles gives us the keys to the reason for this extraordinary situation. Because when in a state in which cannabis is legal 80% of sales come from the black market, we can almost speak of drug trafficking, which is precisely what we want to avoid with legalization.

The legalization of cannabis in California is not working, as we explained in the two articles mentioned. What will the state of California do to fight against this reality?

The state has declared its biggest campaign against the illegal sale of cannabis and its derivatives based on the strengthening of the law and a very ambitious publicity campaign aimed at customers who go to the illegal market.

The new war against the illegal sale of cannabis begins, officially, on June 28 with the launch of the advertising campaign and the closures of retail cannabis sales stores and illegal cultivation ranches.

To have to start this new war, California has suffered great pressure from the legal industry, which sees how they lose a lot of money because of the illegal market.

In a meeting with legal cannabis professionals, Lori Ajax, the state’s leading cannabis regulator, said the state of California will begin a much more aggressive campaign against the illegal market.

The state of California begins a campaign of information called Get #weedwise, which attempts to encourage customers to report that the cannabis they buy comes from legal stores and dispensaries. Because the reality is that the black market of cannabis operates at a glance in cities like Los Angeles and other smaller ones.

We already explained in the articles that we published in that this was due to the terrible bureaucracy that reigns in the state at the time of obtaining the necessary license. It takes so long to get the license that many people prefer to start working without a license while waiting to get it.

An important part of this new war against the illegal sale of cannabis is based on advertisements that will be inserted into social networks and will also be displayed on billboards, which will serve to publicize the state website called, which serves the customers to instantly check if a store is licensed.

The campaign is based on a very simple fact. When you buy illegally, you do not know what you buy. And they even scare customers by saying that when they buy cannabis or products derived from people or stores without a legal license, the products they buy may be contaminated by mold, pesticides, heavy metals, and even human feces.

On one of the billboards you can read: “What’s in your marijuana should not be a mystery, buy only from licensed cannabis stores.”

Before launching this major campaign against the illegal sale of cannabis, Lori Ajax had already told the media that the illegal sale affects the client’s safety and that only cannabis purchased from licensed retailers meets the safety standards of the consumer state.

The advertisements are also aimed at warning shops and illegal growers. The notice is clear: either you have a license to operate legally or you have to close the business.

The problem is so serious that Republican Assemblyman Tom Lackey has declared that the legal status of cannabis in California is the biggest failure of the system and that the current laws are simple suggestions but that there is no law enforcement. And it happens because the state and local governments do not work in a coordinated manner.

For her part, Nicole Elliott, Governor Gavin Newsom’s cannabis adviser, has declared that the state’s budget to combat the illegal sale of cannabis will double to reach 113 million dollars as of July 1.

One would have to ask how much they earn in state and local taxes so that spending such a large amount is profitable.

California began with the legal sale of cannabis on January 1, 2018. However, the illegal market has not stopped growing since that day. And it happens because the customers do not want to pay so much money in taxes.

Alex Traverso, spokesman for the new campaign, explains that the fight has 3 bases. An important part is the advertising campaign. Another part is the closure of illegal shops and farms, and finally, to put an end to the bureaucracy that makes obtaining a license for the legal sale of cannabis so slow.

Traverso explains that the state does not expect to completely end illegal sales but that it is confident that it will be another step to help legal companies.

For their part, the most important businessmen of the cannabis industry in California denounce the high tax rates, which can reach up to 50 percent and the chain of bureaucratic obstacles that discourage them from being part of the legal market.

The initiative to enforce the law to end the illegal sale of cannabis in California came from the United Cannabis Business Association, an employers’ association.

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