As the federal and city crackdowns on medical marijuana dispensaries continue in California, some legal MMJ growers in Northern California are being left with an overstock of marijuana that they can’t sell.
As a result, some legal medical marijuana growers are turning to the black market to avoid losing profits, or at least break even, on the marijuana they have already grown and harvested.
According to local dispensary owners in Arcata, business is down almost 75% because so much cheap marijuana is being sold on the black market.
The Northern California market has seen drastic changes in the past few years, as a large amount of people have moved to the area specifically to grow marijuana. This influx of growers has over saturated the market. That, coupled with wide-scale closures of collectives throughout the state, has left growers with harvested marijuana but no one to sell it to.
This over saturation caused the average price per pound of marijuana to sink from $5,000 to $3,000 by 2010. Prices have continued to waver since.
The changes in the marijuana market have the potential to drastically impact local economies in Northern California. A recent study in Humboldt County showed that the marijuana industry accounts for a quarter of the county’s economy.
With no clear cut end to crackdowns in sight as well as increasing fear levels for growers, Humboldt County Sheriff Allman says that he believes people who moved to the area simply to grow medical marijuana will leave the area and that “everything is going underground.”