Canada’s Marijuana Capital Struggles to Tame the Black Market


In Vancouver, the number of illegally operating marijuana dispensaries surpass the number of Starbucks outlets. There is a chill spot similar to the coffee chain where happy ‘budtenders’ sell coconut chocolate bars. But these are not normal chocolate bars, they are infused with marijuana. Clients even have a sleek dab bar where they get the opportunity to smoke highly concentrated weed.

October 17th, Canada became the largest country to legalize recreational marijuana. The goal was to end and close down the hundreds if not thousands of illegal dispensaries operating illegally as well as close down the black-market. But this task has proven to be tougher for the Canadian government than they initially thought.

Don Briere, 67, has no plans of shutting down Weeds, Glass and Gifts which sells products that have been banned under the new law. The new law restricts retailers who have been licensed from selling dried or fresh cannabis, plants, oil and seeds. Weeds, Glass and Gifts is not only one store but four located around Vancouver.

Canadian Policymakers

The policymakers claim that legalization is a national effort and will take a couple of years to be enforced. The British Columbia’s Minister of public safety, Mike Farnworth argues that market pressure and other market forces will drive these illegal establishments to closure.

Vancouver’s downtown east side has placed the toughest challenge on enforcement. Hundreds of people are seen sited on the streets shooting potent synthetic opioid which has killed at least 7 people last week.

The government has pumped the market with legal marijuana and the prices have already started to fall squeezing the life out of illegal growers. Black market growers pocket an average of $3,000 for a single pound of weed 5 years ago. Currently that profit has fallen to a mere $1,000 which has made them quite unhappy.


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