These are a few paragraphs from an article on legalization of recreational marijuana sales in Colorado this year: http://www.eastbayexpress.com/oaklan...nt?oid=3804566
"The plight of the neighborhood pot dealer just got a lot harder in Colorado. In Denver, many think they'll go extinct.
On January 1, at 8 a.m., the State of Colorado began allowing licensed businesses to sell marijuana to any adult 21 years of age or older. No medical card is needed — just show your ID, and choose your weed from a broad selection of strains. Much like alcohol.
The story was splashed across the front pages of newspapers and websites around the world for the rest of the week with photos of long lines of smiling customers waiting in cold weather. But amid the media circus, everyone overlooked a vital angle: What will become of the average black-market pot dealer?
"I don't think anyone really cares," scoffed Mason Tvert, an architect of Colorado's legalization Amendment 64. "I mean, what about all those poor bootleggers that were hauling alcohol across the country?"
"Fuck 'em," said one young gentleman at the back of fifty-minute line to buy weed on Wednesday afternoon at the pot store Dank Colorado in Denver. The tall black man with a goatee and red flannel jacket added, "I had a couple friends who are growers and they voted against legalization. They said it would mess things up for them. I mean, come on. Screw those guys."
The advent of medical marijuana in California in 1996 began to squeeze pot profits, though. Colorado went medical in 2000. And as prohibition ebbs and the risk of prosecution lessens, so will the price of pot, researchers say. "The cost of production of marijuana has been reduced dramatically," Tvert said. "Right now marijuana is being sold medically for $25 per eighth or $150 per ounce." That's down from late-1990s highs of $60 per eighth-ounce and $360 for an ounce.
On January 1, 3D Cannabis Center in Denver was selling eighth-ounces for $48, but that price included a 21.22 percent tax. "And that's going to go down as their overhead goes down. Right now they have to pay for all sorts of compliance and licensing fees," Tvert said. "Competition will also pick up."
Beau Kilmer, a drug policy researcher for RAND, said what happens to the black market dealers depends on Colorado regulatory decisions in 2014. "The markets are going to be in transition for a while," he said. "It's going to take some time." Weed dealers could presumably move into selling harder drugs, focus on under-21 sales, and compete for locations (campus dorms) and retail hours (late into the night). But any way you slice it, changes are coming. "Naturally, the black market will be significantly impacted," wrote UC Berkeley Law Professor Robert MacCoun in an email. "But the story may get complicated."
Or maybe it won't. "Dealers hate legalization," another young man in line quipped, "just like the mob hated the end of Prohibition."