Stick with your dealer or go legit? Consumers have a decision to make come legalization. When it comes to buying pot in Canada, it’s already available to the public either through the medical market or the black market.
Canadians spend about $5.7 billion on marijuana, 90% of which is illegal; that is, it was purchased outside of the Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulations program.
So how will legalization affect the black market and can the government successfully compete with the black market?
So far, the most prominent comment from experts is that the price of legal pot will start too high and experts predict that most consumers will continue to get their pot from a trusted source at a lower price. They also predict that there won’t be enough supply to meet the demand.
The second point could justify the high cost for a while, or until supply picks up. And once there is an ample weed supply, we can expect to see a downgrade of the black market.
It’s unlikely that the black market will go away entirely, but the more retailers can match the quality that the black market offers or even beat it, will determine how significant the impact is on illegal operators.
Access to retail locations is one part of the equation but so is the ease of the shopping, customer experience, pricing, and of course the variety of products. As cannabis consumers become more discerning about taste, effect, and harm-reduction, there will need to be more than just smokable forms of weed available.