Cannabis Laws: CA Wants to Make Illegal Behavior More Illegal
Leave it to politicians to defy common sense. Whenever challenged to do so, they never fail to rise to the task. Take legislation recently introduced to state lawmakers in California. It is a bill that seeks to make illegal activity more illegal. That makes sense. Criminals will obey the new law just like they obey the old one, right?
The Targeting and Offsetting Existing Illegal Contaminants (TOXIC) Act, a bipartisan bill sponsored by Democrat Scott Peters and Republican Doug La Malfa makes it a crime to use toxic pesticides on illegal cannabis farms. Yes, you read that correctly.
The two lawmakers want to make illegal cannabis growing even more illegal by telling operators they cannot use certain pesticides on public land. They must be confident that said illegal growers will suddenly gain a conscience and stop using the nasty pesticides.
They Have Nothing to Lose
Knowing California, the legislation is likely to pass and be signed into law. Yet it is virtually guaranteed that the law will not change anything. Illegal operators are already breaking the law by growing cannabis without a state license. They have nothing to lose – and everything to gain, by the way – by continuing to use the pesticides in question.
The illicit cannabis market thrives because consumers are willing to buy black-market cannabis. Likewise, consumers are happy to utilize the black market because they can buy their pot cheaper that way. Do not think for a minute that illegal growers will give up higher yields by adhering to a pesticide ban. If banned pesticides keep yields high, illicit growers will keep using them.
It is About Price and Access
Cannabis is more than just a plant. It is also a business. And as with anything in business, most of what goes on in the cannabis industry is directly related to price and access. Simply put, consumers want access to products at the lowest possible price. They will buy from whomever can give it to them.
It is well known that California’s black market continues to thrive because legal cannabis is so expensive by comparison. But pricing problems are not limited to California. Even in Utah, where cannabis laws are far more restrictive, medical cannabis patients can spend hundreds of dollars per month on their medicines.
Park City’s Deseret Wellness says that all medical cannabis consumed in Utah must be grown there by licensed growers. Likewise, it must be processed by licensed processors and sold at licensed pharmacies. Does that mean the black market doesn’t exist in Utah? No, it doesn’t. You can bet there are black market operators doing very well in the Beehive state.
You Can’t Legislate a Conscience
Back in California, at least a couple of lawmakers have decided they need to take action to protect the health and well-being of Golden State residents who choose to purchase black market pot. They will continue to maintain the TOXIC Act is about protecting the public health.
That may be true, but so what? You cannot legislate a conscience among a group of growers already operating illegally. A couple of hundred votes and a governor’s signature are not going to suddenly make criminals feel bad about the pesticides they use. In the end, the only ones who will be harmed by the legislation are the pesticide manufacturers. Maybe that’s the real point.
If you grow marijuana illegally in California, beware. The legislature wants to make your illegal activity even more illegal. You could have a serious choice to make in the near future. Will you run a partly illegal operation, or will you go fully illegal?