Illicit Pot Has Higher Unintended Consequences [PHIL-OSOPHY]
I wonder if Cheech and Chong, the pot-smoking comedy duo, see any black humor in the fact that since voters in Massachusetts legalized recreational weed, the black market here is soaring.
We were told by the marijuana advocates that the illegal enterprise would diminish and become a regulated, tax-paying industry. Here's where the sound effects of laughter should be edited in.
The next question should be, is the tax revenue expected from legalization still accurate?
The street dealers are taking advantage of the legalization laws that give them cover, while they take care of the high demand and short supply with lower prices. If someone is selling marijuana under the table, obviously that price is going to be lower. If the legal pot shop sells a joint for $20 but the illicit dealer has it for $10, who do you think customers are going to buy it from? The cost for one-eighth of an ounce on the street is about $25, compared to about $50 in legal pot shops, plus an added 20 percent tax for the state.
Massachusetts police say they are frustrated to see a healthy underground marijuana market and that their warnings are coming true, that legalizing pot would fuel the black market. I am frustrated, too.
Phil Paleologos is the host of The Phil Paleologos Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @PhilPaleologos. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.