Can New York Even Get Selling Weed Right?

Can New York Even Get Selling Weed Right?

The state of the State’s handling of its new marijuana laws, according to the Queens Chronicle:

If you’re sharp and have lots of friends, it can be fairly easy to set up shop as a pot dealer. You might start out by becoming the person who picks up for your pals. They’re all throwing in, say, $50 for an eighth of an ounce, but when you buy for four of them at once, you’re getting a half-ounce, and maybe it’s $150 instead of $200. Prices drop when you buy in bulk, just like at the store. You just made fifty bucks.

The next step is to not wait for your friends to need weed. You go get it ahead of time. Maybe you get even more, so your volume discount is bigger and once you do sell it, you make even more. And maybe you take the further step of getting your dealer to front it to you: to give you the goods and trust that you’ll pay later. Congratulations, you’re a drug dealer. As long as things go well, you could do this for years. They don’t always go well, but at least the weed trade historically has been less violent than, say, the cocaine business.

Now let’s say you’re the State of New York. Think you can help some folks with experience in both weed and the (more or less) honest business world go completely legit? Can you give them licenses to sell weed and dress it all up by calling it cannabis? Can you let farmers upstate grow the stuff and help them get it to market while it’s fresh? Can you help fill state coffers the way it was done in the past by turning the numbers racket into something called the lottery and taxing the heck out of it? The answer to all this would be no. Not in any competent manner. Not like the guy who started buying weed for his friends and ended up with a Corvette.

It was more than two years ago that the state passed the laws setting up a system for legal recreational marijuana. We were to have hundreds of weed shops (er, cannabis dispensaries) by now; instead we have 12 statewide. What we do have lots of are illegal shops, more than 300 in Queens alone. Most have survived the legal threats made against them so far, while a handful have gotten busted — just as a few wildebeest fall prey to the lions but the herd thunders on…  Read the Rest


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