Medical Cannabis Patients Are Looking To The Black Market For Supply
As of Jan. 1, adult-use cannabis sales have been legal in San Diego, and many visitors have traveled long distances to witness the inside of an above-ground weed store. Business for legal cannabis storefronts is booming and the tourists are smiling; that is definitely a win for San Diego.
But there are some very real unintended consequences to these new state and local adult-use — meaning 21 and up — cannabis laws that continue to cause great concern.
Voice of San Diego CommentaryLegitimate patients who rely on cannabis to treat their serious ailments are being pushed back into an unsafe and unreliable underground market. Mothers, daughters and grandparents who use cannabis oil tinctures to combat various forms of cancer, epilepsy and Parkinson’s Disease are not sharing in the same giddiness that has overwhelmed the out-of-staters who are just searching for a quick euphoric buzz before heading home to Nebraska.
With only 12 retail outlets licensed to sell cannabis in San Diego, the lines and wait times to buy product in these stores have been extremely challenging to endure for disabled and cancer patients. One elderly woman told me that as she stood waiting for 35 minutes outside of one of these stores, surrounded by 20-somethings, she felt “out of place” and described the entire experience as “physically exhausting.”
It is not my intention to demonize legal storefronts. The state has created an overly complicated regulatory structure that has made it extremely costly to be compliant and profitable. These stores are battling ridiculously high state and local taxes, threats of federal intervention and an underground marketplace that seems to grow larger every day. I empathize with the pressure storefronts are under to turn a profit, and I do not judge them for catering to tourists with disposable income who are more than happy to pay the extra taxes necessary to enjoy legal cannabis in California.