While this lofty goal is still out of reach, it looks like British legislators might be warming up to the suggestion. If this is the case, the U.K. could be one of the next countries in Europe – and the world – to fully legalize recreational marijuana.
However, The Guardian makes light a new approach by the U.S. state of Massachusetts that could help reduce the black market’s influence and bring an influx of skilled labour at the same time.
If the U.S. and Canada have taught us anything, it is that legalization will not snuff out the black market overnight. It is still a huge presence and will continue to exist for many years.
But adopting an “if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em” approach might be one of the best ways to deal with illegal dealers.
First of all, arresting, convicting and jailing drug dealers uses up a substantial amount of time and money. Making matters worse is that it is usually just a Band-Aid solution, since a sizeable portion – if not most – of these convicts simply return to their old activities.
By giving former drug dealers legitimate employment, it ensures the security of a steady income for them and keeps them away from illegal activities.
At the same time, they bring expertise that will likely make the training process faster, easier and cheaper.
Commissioner of legal cannabis sales Shaleen Title says:
“They [dealers] have skills already of course gleaned over a long number of years. It is a way to give people and the voters that backed legalisation in our referendum what they wanted.”
Title’s undertaking is well underway, as she also explains:
“We are on our first project with 150 people and we put out a bid to vendors who can teach them how to produce cannabis that is regulated. It also includes an ownership programme to train people who were once entrepreneurs in the underground market.”
A War of Attrition
In most locations, the response to illegal drugs of any kind is to bring in law enforcement. Aside from being a danger to those on the front lines and a waste of resources (as we mentioned before), we know that this approach makes virtually no impact.
But Title’s strategy is aggressive, yet indirect. Rather than have police raid property and seize illegal cannabis, the government instead slowly poaches distributors. This will theoretically reduce the number of criminals on the street and likely pique the interest of underground growers and dealers who will no doubt be enticed by a steady income without fear of prosecution.
WeedAdvisor’s Opposition to the Black Market
It goes without saying that WeedAdvisor wants to see illegal cannabis wiped out for all of the usual reasons. But until this point, all we heard of were drug busts and all we called for was tighter enforcement.
But from what we see in Massachusetts, it is clear that sometimes the open hand works better than an iron fist.
If successful, Title’s approach could revolutionize the way states and countries deal with the black market – assuming they adopt it themselves.