Marijuana

Ask a Stoner: How Big Is Colorado's Black Market for Marijuana?

Ask a Stoner: How Big Is Colorado's Black Market for Marijuana?
Westword
Dear Stoner: Is the black market still a thing here? What’s the point of buying off the street anymore?
AJ

Dear AJ: The state has tried its best to crush the black market since legalization, slashing plant counts and upping black- and gray-market enforcement of unregulated medical and recreational grows. All of that home-grow hatred and a maturing cannabis industry has undoubtedly cut into black-market sales. According to Arcview Market Research’s latest study on the nation’s cannabis industry, Colorado had the smallest rate of black-market cannabis transactions by far compared to other states, at just 27 percent of total spending. Compare that to a 51 percent rate in Washington and 49 percent rate in Oregon — and a 100 percent rate in prohibition states — and Colorado looks pretty clean.
Some cannabis consumers, especially those who consumed heavily before legalization, still prefer the black market because they distrust the industry and/or hate commercialization. A Cannabis Consumer Coalition study in which 84 percent of the respondents identified as daily users asked where they bought their pot. Fewer than 12 percent said they bought cannabis from a recreational dispensary, while nearly 46 percent said they still buy off the black market and 15 percent said they grow their own.

Have a question for our Stoner? E-mail marijuana@westword.com or call the potline at 303-­293-­2222.
KEEP WESTWORD FREE... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Herbert Fuego is the resident stoner at Westword, ready to answer all your marijuana questions.
Contact: Herbert Fuego