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Legalization pots open the door to black markets, for example farmers and traders



The legal address raises opportunities for illicit trade, said a Calgary marijuana trader and a farmer who supplies his operations.

Both said they filled the supply gap for medical users left behind by focusing on marijuana recreation while exploiting higher prices and lower quality legal marijuana.

Legalization chaos in the early days, highlighted by a shortage of supply, also occurred in their hands, they said.

"(Patients) must search from the black market – the government does not have the tools or quality they need," said Tim, who produces various types of marijuana in warehouses near Nelson, B.C., which supplies the Calgary market.

"Some of the items that come out of the shop are the experiences of first-year farmers, this is a very low item."

High-quality marijuana producers in the Kootenay BC region, some of which claim their four-decade trade is "busier than ever in terms of demand," Tim said.

The man said he could produce 10 to 15 lbs. marijuana every three months in soil and hydroponic operations.

About 70 percent of that, he said, goes to medical consumers in what is a black hybrid market-law operation which he said is common in a sector filled with legal gray areas.

"I have a license (federal government) for up to 75 factories … I am allowed to provide for patients," Tim said.

He pointed to problems that plagued Manitoba-based Bonify producers, who admitted that they had distributed marijuana from unknown sources to Saskatchewan retailers as a foothold in the sometimes bleak new industry law.

For the past eight years, he has also supplied shoots for Greg, who operates the Calgary network known as Medi Man and has collected customers when they leave the city's legal marijuana shop.

The customers were given a sample of the best "platinum" shoots clipped to a business card with a telephone number for its dial-and-delivery service.

"I don't want to hit them when they go to the store," Greg said, adding 80 percent of those who received samples made a purchase.

"Our customers who returned to like us … they said," I don't know what I will do without you. "

These businesses have adopted the traps of legal and mainstream operations with money-back guarantees, frequently purchased free items, age identification checks and even promotional contests for customers, he said.

"We gave tickets to the Snoop Dogg concert, we printed many sheets (contests)," said Greg.

And he points to what many people consider excessive legal packaging of pots, adding that the buds are sold in used glass jars.

The customer, he said, can check their purchases, unlike those in legal stores.

"You can't see, feel, or try it – you're stuck with (a legitimate purchase)," said Greg.

The man said his business was very good, he considered adding three more employees to the cadres who currently number six.

It was a chase, he said, which began to strictly supply medical marijuana customers but with legalization, which is now half of its sales.

City police, Greg said, knew about his activities and even called him in one of his business card numbers in early December.

But he assured the officer that he would not sell on the road and the police had not contacted him since.

"He has my number," Greg said. "I tell my people if they feel uncomfortable, they don't work."

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Tim Grower, one of 15 Gregory Kootenay regional producers, said he never felt threatened by law enforcement, raising it to tolerance C.C. which is large enough for activities that are ingrained.

When asked what would happen in the future for black market pots in Canada, both said many of those on banned parties, including themselves, would prefer the mainstream action.

"This is very unexpected – I think the government will try to bring in the black market," Tim said.

"This is very confusing. We want to be part of it – we are in trouble. "

Greg said he was building a client base for a legal future but added that there seemed to always be some kind of illegal sector.

"The lower the legal side of the price, the lower the black market will go … it's not something you can really count," he said.

Meanwhile, both said they were committed to supplying drug and recreational clients.

"We are excited to get quality products for people," Greg said.

Proponents of legalization in the government and marijuana industry say the new retail system will become more normal and adopted, over time eroding the black market sector.

They also expect the arrival of legal edibles next fall will grow the industry very quickly and accelerate the death of illegal operators.

BKaufmann@postmedia.com

in twitter: @BillKaufmannjrn


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