How the legal status of cannabis effects Smoke Shops in the U.S.
Nearly half of the United States has legalized marijuana in some form. Because of this, the sales of marijuana and data collected on market trends has indicated that not only has cannabis become cheaper, overall, but the standard of quality has, for most people.
Not everyone has the go-to weed guy who just so happens to have the Pineapple Express equivalent at the price of the cheapest strain found in any smoke shop. For the general population, legal weed is far superior to anything found on the black market. This is not something that sellers on the black market would like to hear, as there’s a lot of local dealers that are losing business.
The prices of marijuana not only fall immediately following legalization for each state, they continue falling each month. By as much as 2 percent every month, prices of weed in Washington declined on the black market for years, and still to this day. There is a “bottoming out” so to speak, as witnessed by early legalization adopters, like Colorado, where drug traffickers essentially abandon cannabis plants and start focusing on other drugs like cocaine and heroin. That means black market sellers have fewer options for sourcing their product, if they don’t grow their own.
The cheap prices of marijuana found in smoke shops, which are more and more appealing to new and experienced smokers, don’t come without consequence for the state. The cheaper prices mean less income from taxes for the state. Before you begin to feel sorry for the loss of income, however, keep in-mind that legalization is still providing billions of income that never even existed before.
On top of providing new revenue, legalization has also dramatically reduced crime rates, especially when you take into account of the reduction of black market sellers, meaning less money thrown away from simple routine arrests and booking.
Impact on Smoke Shops
Smoke shops operating in states with legalized marijuana are prospering, but not without concerns. For one, all sales of cannabis and cannabis paraphernalia is still illegal under federal law. Dispensaries are still under watch and being raided in many parts of the country by the DEA. Online smoke shops have to follow rules as well.
Marijuana businesses still have to deal with archaic cash-based systems and deposits, which is not only resource-intensive, but also dangerous and vulnerable to criminals.
In terms of quality, smoke shops have seen constant growth in both variety and concentrations. Large growing operations are able to produce and experiment with cannabis, introducing more product to the market than what was previously available. This is good news for both the shops and the customers.
Patients that rely on CBD strains, in particular, have a much greater selection for their needs and their budget. This is something that just wasn’t feasible for black markets pre-legalization. The biggest buyers were your typical stoners, not children suffering from autoimmune disorders, for example.
The Future of Cannabis Markets
Smoke shops around the country look forward to the day when marijuana sales are uninhibited to the point where they can reach their most valuable customers. One way to reach more people is owning an online smoke shop and trying to spread the word. One new idea is to have a site where you can purchase both cheap bongs and marijuana at the same time, but that’s way in the future.
Other prospects include one-stop shops of marijuana stores where customers can browse both vape and smoke products, alongside CBD medicines. Convenience is the strongest contributor of mainstream adoption rates.
There is no doubt that the road to greater proliferation and acceptance of cannabis is promising, but not without more struggle, of course. In fact, the government has taken steps to intimidate the cannabis movement by calling CBD a “Schedule 1” drug, just like all other marijuana strains, despite having no psychoactive properties.
This public form of condemnation of a drug that has healed and changed so many lives does not deter or even change things for the marijuana industry, it’s just another reason to keep pushing for legalization until a national legalization is inevitable.
Leading up to this moment of victory, you can expect to see weed shops resemble more of a local corner store than a typical dispensary setting with very formal and almost clinical setting (there will still be these places, too), and you can expect to see the largest banks falling behind the industry to pressure federal legalization.