Whether its legal, illegal, medical or recreational, the marijuana industry means business.
As lawmakers debate legalizing marijuana in New Jersey, the players who stand to be impacted — from businesspeople already invested in the medical industry to black market dealers — are keeping a close eye on how things develop.
IMPACT ON THE BLACK MARKET
Over-the-counter weed in New Jersey could mean stiff competition for black market dealers in both the Garden State and neighboring New York.
A Staten Island dealer, however, scoffed at the idea he’d be put out of business.
“A big company can sit there and grow all the weed they want, but we’re still going to grow, too, and we’re still gonna make it cheaper,” the 25-year-old man who referred to himself as “Joey” said in a video interview with the Advance.
But only time will tell.
Joshua Cisneros, who was a dealer in Oregon, said he voted against legalization there in 2014 out of fear that it could hurt his sales.
Within a couple of years, he was right. As the prices in the stores dropped, he was priced out.
“Eventually, my prices started dropping, dropping, and I’m like, ‘I’m trying to run a business here,'” said Cisneros, who now picks up shifts at a Mexican restaurant in Portland to help pay the bills.
But there remains demand for bootleg weed in Oregon.
Portland State University students — underage and on a limited budget — told the Advance they often search for marijuana on Craigslist.
One 21-year-old student, who went by the name “Jazzy,” mentioned how the marijuana is gifted to people when they purchase other items.
“If you buy the container or the bag, and then it just comes with the weed in it,” he said. “Or it’s like you’re donating them money, and they give [the weed] to you, so it’s not an actual transaction.”