California: Heavily Taxed Cannabis vs. Black Market

Lambus's picture

California's Legal Weed Is So Heavily Taxed and Regulated That the Black Market Might Survive

As of January 2018, anyone over the age of 21 can walk into a store in California and pick up some marijuana. All you need is some cash or a credit card.


To learn more about how legalized recreational cannabis sales works, we tracked a product, the Kiva chocolate bar, up the supply chain—from seed to sale. We talked to cannabis entrepreneurs along the way to find out what's changed for them operating in a legal state market.


And what we found was surprising: Anxiety about the future of the legal market under California's highly regulated—and highly taxed—system.


Some industry insiders told us that if the legal market remains so overtaxed and overregulated that the black market will continue to stay in business.


"The situation in the market is pretty dire," says Kristi Knoblich Palmer, COO and co-founder of KIVA, which had to lay off employees for the first time in the company's history after recreational legalization went into effect. "That has everything to do with the cost of cannabis to the end consumer."


VICE: California - Cannabis Black Market

Recreational marijuana became legal in California in January. But for small-scale veteran growers, licensing backlog may shut his business down before he sells a single nug on California’s new legal market.

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California: Girl Scout Cookies - An indica dominant hybrid.



Average: 4.7 (3 votes)


lawngnome909's picture

GSC is quite yummy, but I'd search these out over it. (below).


Wedding Cake  (


Gushers (


They are EXTREMELY good.


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eh's picture

I knew that "Legalized" weed would be a shitshow. No way am I ever putting my name in a database or paying the outrageous costs for taxed ganja. I grow my own kind bud and have more than enough. Girl Scout Cookie was great but White Widow has been incredible with high yield of top bud and extremely potent. As potent as I ever want.

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Nakey's picture
Beta Tester

Let me preface this by saying you can obtain medical marijuana in Australia however you need both state and federal permission. Further you need to literally have a terminal disease to get it prescribed at this point (i last checked 6 months or so back things may have changed).

So, dude i work out with at the gym has a sister that has cancer. I found this out when we were discussing the above one day. I was also told that his sis has medical marijuana prescribed to her. So here’s the thing, his sister tells him that while getting it prescribed was not exactly easy the results are not exactly great. She says that the product that is legally supplied here is more expensive and of lower quality than black market cannabis.

So while she happily takes that prescription she does so only to seem legal. she buys her cheaper and, more potent product from one of the local dealers.

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