Why Banning Local Cannabis Businesses Is Fueling Organized Crime

There’s a long list of reasons why cannabis should no longer be under prohibition laws. For one, it’s simply long overdue. Cannabis has flooded the streets, making it easily accessible to everyone and anyone to get their hands on a dimebag. And while that still shouldn’t be considered an issue, there’s a need for proper access with safe testing and the whole nine.

These days, it seems like more and more states are progressing with cannabis reform. It’s certain counties within these states that are forming pushback. In the case of New Jersey where cannabis has been legalized, nearly 71% of towns have decided against allowing legally operated dispensaries in their area. This happened in both California and Colorado, though they came back around. As reports, these areas eventually began pushing for full legalization after witnessing the many benefits. For one, cities with legal dispensaries do better economically, compared to those that don’t.

Beyond the failure to observe the economic value of a legal cannabis industry (job creation, tax revenue etc.), it’s the lingering stigma behind cannabis and cannabis users that have enforced prohibition rules to apply. Unfortunately, it’s not even the American voters that are behind it but those who sit in city council positions. In their minds, making cannabis legal would mean that they’re pro-drug and they continuously say that they’re trying to “protect the kids.” Unfortunately, what they’re doing is actually the opposite.

Despite reluctance in places like New Jersey, it’s not necessarily the people that live there that are making the decisions. The people voted for the end of prohibition while the local leaders are putting a ban on legal access to cannabis. 

What happens when jurisdictions continue to ban cannabis businesses is that a grey market starts to thrive. An opportunistic individual will simply drive a few towns over where cannabis businesses are legal, purchase in bulk, and return to the “prohibition spaces” where they sell products at a higher price point. That’s the best-case scenario.

The worst case is that this ends up fueling organized crimes that leap at the chance to fill the void in these “prohibition spaces.” Cartels and gangs often infiltrate the neighborhoods with cannabis that hasn’t gone through rigid testing or any sort of safety check. Furthermore, it’s typically not just cannabis that they’re making accessible to the kids. Legal cannabis markets can disrupt the chain of demand, especially since organized crime activity gets territorial and increases the chances of violent crimes.

Chances are, most places that haven’t seen the light of the cannabis industry yet will change their stance in the future. For those who want change, the best thing to do is to push the local politicians to move forward with legalization — especially, if their concern lies in the safety of the children. 

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