Black market forces marijuana shop to slash prices
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.