Can legalization tame black market for weed?

By

Opinion

January 13, 2020 - 9:55 AM

With Illinois legalizing recreational marijuana, Kansas is increasingly an island of weed Puritanism in the Midwest. As more states create legitimate marijuana economies, what do we know about the black market marijuana economy in Kansas? Could legalization tame it?

The marijuana economy in Kansas includes those who produce, sell, or purchase weed here. Many of us know Kansans who participate in it. Among Kansans I have encountered: A suburban businesswoman who drives marijuana back from Colorado for herself and friends. A veteran who smokes to deal with stress. And yes, some stereotypical “potheads.” Maybe some of you are part of this underground economy.

The financial value of this black market in Kansas is unknown. However, priceofweed.com crowdsources data to estimate the street price of marijuana. Self-reported data like this have obvious flaws, but it beats no data. Based on over 3,000 reported purchases in Kansas, it estimates that an ounce of “high quality” marijuana costs about $340 here versus $283 for “medium quality” marijuana. Medium to high quality joints run $6-$8.

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