Pubdate: Thu, 29 Dec 2011
Source: Chico News & Review, The (CA)
Copyright: 2011 Chico Community Publishing, Inc.


So who's benefiting from the federal crackdown on medical-marijuana 
dispensaries? Why, black-market pot growers and dealers, that's who.

According to a recent report by the Center for Investigative 
Reporting's California Watch, prices for high-grade, outdoor-grown 
marijuana, after slumping precipitously in 2010, have risen by 20 to 
40 percent since four U.S. attorneys began cracking down on growers 
and dispensaries and threatening local agencies-like the Chico City 
Council and city staff-with prosecution.

For growers willing to risk arrest by doing business on the black 
market-and there are plenty of them-this is welcome news. Prices that 
were as low as $1,000 a pound have risen as high as $2,500 a pound, 
making business potentially much more profitable.

That's good for these growers and dealers, as long as they don't get 
caught, but for legitimate medical-marijuana suppliers and their 
customers, it's a disaster. For the patients, it's become harder and 
more expensive to obtain their medicine. And for the legitimate 
medical-marijuana growers, it's a case of misplaced priorities that 
threaten to put them out of business.

As one Mendocino County medical-marijuana grower put it, "Prices are 
going up, but the people who will cash in are the men hiding in the 
mountains. If this continues, the people who are trying to follow 
medical-marijuana laws won't get anything because they'll be out of 
business, thanks to the feds."

All the more reason for state lawmakers to get off their duffs and 
bring sense and consistency to medical-marijuana laws.
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