Black market forces marijuana shop to slash prices

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Los Angeles City Council Votes To Ban Medical Marijuana Dispensaries

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VANCOUVER, Wash. — In order to remain competitive, a Vancouver recreational marijuana retailer is slashing its prices to levels available only on the black market, KPTV reports.

Shon-Louisse Harris, who owns New Vansterdam in Vancouver, said he made the decision to offer lower-priced marijuana to try to squeeze out illegitimate, black-market sellers.

“We’re able to get 10 strains all at about $10, basically black market price. It’s still taxed. It’s still regulated. It’s fully tested,” Harris said.

Harris made a deal with local growers to trim both his and their profit margins for as long as possible to try to convince customers to look for legitimate, regulated sources of recreational marijuana rather than take their chances with illegal sellers.

“We’re hoping people feel safe to come in here rather than maybe meeting someone off Craigslist. It’s really not a safe situation,” Harris said.

High taxes on recreational marijuana in Washington have pushed prices to roughly $30 per gram, according to Harris, with a little more than half that going to state and local taxes.

Harris said he’ll sell his cheaper varieties for as long as it’s possible, with hopes that lawmakers will eventually revise the tax structure to make it easier for legal retailers to edge out black-market sellers.

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  • Mike

    The recreational marijuana growers are saying they can not compete with the black market with the hope that Washington State will lower taxes for recreational marijuana. The fact is most growers can grow recreational marijuana for around 20 cents a gram and even if they sell if for 4 dollars a gram they are making a huge profit. Yes those growers who are growing in expensive cities like Seattle or Tacoma have to pay more for their rent, property taxes and electrical bill and need more money to be profitable. All growers should move to eastern Washington and grow outdoors where they can grow for 20 cents a gram. Why should we reduce taxes on marijuana growers so they can afford to grow in city warehouses and drive up all off our electrical bills.

  • mountainoutofamolehill

    Pure propaganda. Taxes are about 1/3 of the price of recreational marijuana. Still high, but not half the price. Growers are not cutting prices so low to compete. They are cutting prices because there is a glut of recreational marijuana in the market, and wholesalers are cutting the price to below costs and some are giving it away. It has nothing to do with medical marijuana; it is all about untenable regulation, a poorly executed rollout of 502 and a fall harvest glut of product. There is a glut because there is an excess of growers compared to the number of retail stores selling. The problem with recreational marijuana is that there is extremely high and costly regulations attached to it, besides the 45% tax. This same store owner of Vansterdam has said the same things I am writing in many other places.
    This article is about blaming medical in order to get it wiped out by the legislature, which is in session now. If the reporter had made the slightest effort to check the math (on the taxes for example), had spoken to other people, and had looked at other comments by Vansterdam, that reporter would know that he/she has been taken in.

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