Marijuana in California: How the state's legalization of weed has not destroyed the black market


For decades, pot farmers have hauled their weed on this winding, remote road. A lot of it grown on family farms like Casey O'Neil's. They've been here since the seventies. He's he has just 45 marijuana plants. He calls them his ladies and their tucked between his rose of vegetables all the canvas in this row Strawberry Valley. Good show. O'Neill, who spent time in jail for cultivating marijuana before it was legal, was one of the first to get a license after Prop 64 past. I grow cannabis because I really love it. I like to consume it. I like to be around it. It's something that Provides my being and consciousness with tremendous love and support. But his being in consciousness is getting strangled by red tape and a laundry list of requirements that don't make sense to growers like weighing marijuana leaves. Which is the part of the plan. You don't smoke and can't get you high. I must take all of the leaf that comes off the plant. I must weigh it. I must record the weight and I must put it in a locked compost facility, so it's just side. Big brother. The worry with believes that it's his hand smoke, believe. Why does it matter? Exactly Then there's the cost of operating legally a major reason, O'Neill says. Farmers he knows have decided to keep growing and selling marijuana illegally. For most people out here, the opportunity to participate does not exist the barriers to entry or too high. Costs are too high. The skill sets are too low. The flip side of it is, people are not going to jail for cannabis. And what's the cost to you? So when you factor in consulting fees You know, I just did a back of the napkin calculation. And over the last 34 years, I'm well over 50,000 into it $50,000 for white permits for permits for consulting $2500 a year for the Waterboard discharge permit. It's $750 a year for the pond permit. It's 1350 application fee to the county, plus another 6 75 when they actually give you the permit annually. Farm, this tiny for the smallest farm that there is, and that's one of the problems. Is that what does that do Your profits? What profits you not make any money right now? So where's the money being made in California? Turns out in the very place legalization was supposed to destroy the black market, which often operates out of storefronts like this in strip malls around the state. Susan listen, shops don't have to pay for state and local permits and conceal marijuana much cheaper because they don't charge customers marijuana taxes, which could reach as high as 45%. So it's cheaper and easier to buy pot on the black market, which is three times larger than the legal one. Unlike other industries, we have this kind of in the shadows unspoken about competitors, right and So it's like it's not like California's fully raging, fully legal really were building to fully regulated state, but we're not. We're certainly not there yet

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