Growing and possessing cannabis has been legal in our nation’s capital since February. But selling cannabis is still illegal, so as residents enjoy the fruits of the first legal harvests in Washington D.C., there is still no legal market to sell it in.
So under this partial legalization the black market still operates, with the added advantage of being able to grow the weed that gets illegally sold. So, in essence, the new law is likely creating more people who are selling weed.
Real legalization has to involve retail sales. Don’t get me wrong, partial legalization is better than none at all, but only retail sales can undercut the black market and reduce the crime associated with it. Many people can’t or won’t grow; they would rather just keep buying from the illegal dealer they know.
The good news is that when retail sales do finally start in D.C., there will be plenty of experienced growers in the area ready to supply those stores and lend them their expertise. There will be a lot of people ready to fill the legal jobs that will need to be filled.
It would obviously be better if the legalization in Washington D.C. was broader, but in the end, it’s much better than the black market. It means less people going to jail and more people having legal access to cannabis, even if they do have to grow it themselves.
As an example of how things are changing in the District, consider the fact that the D.C. State Fair that went down recently included a marijuana growing contest. Yet the federal government, which dominates D.C. with offices and monuments and such, still clings to the myth that marijuana has no medicinal value.
Times are changing, yet some things stubbornly stay the same.