No Brick & Mortar Meltdown for Legal Marijuana Retailers

In California, sales at cannabis retailers hit $5.1 billion over the past 12 months.

By Wolf Richter for WOLF STREET.

In the national retail sales figures for July, there was a most wondrously booming but small-ish segment, “miscellaneous store retailers.” The Commerce Department, which released the figures a few days ago, groups into this segment a slew of tiny sub-segments of retailers, such as beer-brewing supply stores – and notably, and not so tiny anymore, cannabis retailers.

Cannabis has become a big business since the sale and use for recreational purposes was legalized in many states. And sales at “miscellaneous store retailers” jumped by 3.5% in July from June, at a time when total retail sales dipped, and by 26% from July 2019, to a record of $14 billion, at least in part driven by the blistering boom in marijuana retail sales.

For example, in California, “taxable” cannabis sales jumped by 11.2% in the second quarter from the first quarter, to $1.4 billion, according to the California Department of Tax and Fee Administration (CDTFA) on Friday. They’d soared by 24.4% since Q2 2020 and by 108% since Q2 2019.

But this does not include certain medical marijuana sales, which are not taxable, and black-market sales. The sales tracked by the CDTFA are limited to “taxable” marijuana sales, mostly recreational marijuana, which became legal in California in January 2018. So what we’re seeing here is just the growth of the new business of legal recreational pot.

Medical cannabis has been legal for many years. But sales of medical cannabis are exempt from the new cannabis taxes if the buyer shows a valid Medical Marijuana ID issued by the California Department of Public Health along with valid government-issued ID card. These Medical Marijuana IDs, which require a physician’s recommendation, have been easy to get, and medical pot shops did a lively business long before the recreational pot became legal. But those sales are not included here.

Over the past 12 months, sales of taxable cannabis reached $5.1 billion in California, up by 48% from the same period a year earlier. This chart shows the trailing 12 months for each quarter. There are not many retailer segments out there with this kind of growth pattern:

In Q2, the CDTFA collected $333 million in these new recreational-cannabis taxes. Over the past 12 months, it collected $1.27 billion. The taxes come in three layers: excise tax, cultivation tax, and cannabis sales tax.

Pot, like alcohol and tobacco products, is an ideal target for heavy taxation. It causes some moaning and groaning among its consumers and business owners, and it keeps the black market alive and it motivates people to get Medical Marijuana IDs, and it encourages people to grow their own. But for many consumers, it’s still less hassle to go to the store and buy some pot – rather than buy it on the black market or grow it at home – hence the red-hot growth of taxable marijuana sales despite the heavy taxes.

In many other states, the entire business of pot – from its agricultural aspects to distribution and retail – is just as popular as in California. Spread across the US, legal cannabis is turning into a serious business.

Even though the cannabis business is still illegal under federal law, the standard surveys that the Census Bureau sends to business addresses to collect data for its monthly retail sales report are tracking cannabis retail sales but not in their own category.

For now, the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) has put medical and recreational marijuana retailers into the category of “Miscellaneous Store Retailers” (NAICS 453998), and they’re now pumping up sales at these “miscellaneous store retailers.” When this industry becomes legal under federal law, the big businesses that have already started circling it will pile into it in a big way. And then maybe, cannabis retailers will get their own NAICS code.

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  118 comments for “No Brick & Mortar Meltdown for Legal Marijuana Retailers

  1. MonkeyBusiness says:

    Yeah, it’s easy to tell even from anecdotes. There’s a couple of shops selling pot along the stretch of Mission St near my place and whenever I passed them by, they were always full with people. Recession proof as well no doubt.

    I am just waiting for a Boba shop operator to come up with a pot based boba drink ….

    • Djreef says:

      Maybe not Boba, but Tinley sells drinkables that aren’t half bad.

    • VintageVNvet says:

      OK, read all the comments here this time, before commenting:
      1. Pot as a pain med is SO much cheaper and non addictive than synthetic pharmaceuticals, according to many friends, some with very serious major trauma.
      2. MJ has much less ”hang over” than same amount of pain reduction from alcohol, ditto friends with long term experience with both.
      3. TX likely never going to make ganja legal because they know full well that it will flood in from other places without being taxable, and it’s a convenient excuse to bust folks otherwise not doing a damn thing illegal, take their vehicle and even sometimes their home.
      4. FL legalized medical pot by citizen referendum,,,, but it took a long time for the various politicians to line up their back door ”campaign contributions” from the companies now vertically integrated per rules and regulations. Some of those connections have become known publicly, but too late,,, and the legislature continues to work against legalizing for recreational use because they know they cannot control home grown for taxes, ”contributions,” etc.
      5. Humboldt county CA was totally into busting all the illegal grows going on there in the ”Emerald Triangle” in the early 1970s, but only until they realized how much money was coming into the county from the pot,, , which replaced at least a significant portion of the income from the timber industry that had been wiped out by the paid political puppets in D.C. allowing the timber to go straight to the docks without any milling etc., the mills being where the vast majority of the working folks made their living pulling green chain, etc., etc…
      6. ALL the pot in SoCal that I ever heard about in the 1960s was coming from MX, THROUGH TX!
      7. A neighbor in Berkeley asked me to help divide up a ”key” of pot into one oz baggies; he paid $100/KG, sold it for $10/oz!!!

      • VintageVNvet says:

        Having said all that, here’s a couple anecdotes, just for georgist::
        8. Knew an experienced journey level electrician who smoked pot before work and at the breaks, and outworked every other electrician, including his boss, both on quantity and quality.
        9. Pot is definitely NOT for everyone, as is certainly true of every significant medicine of all kinds, synthetic or ”natural” even including garlic, turmeric, etc., etc.
        10. As per other commenter, ”De gustibus non disputandum est.” eh

        • bob says:

          I disagree, it is addictive. I do agree that it is not for everyone. Thus it should at least require a doctors consent to use.

        • Thomas Roberts says:


          Added sugar is far more addictive and harmful than pot. Should that require a doctor’s prescription? Pot was legal in America for most of its history, and legalizing it, would stop alot of people from taking things, far worse than pot legal and illegal.

          I’m sure if we did a house inspection at your house, we would find addictive food of various varieties and various other things your doctor wouldn’t recommend. Food is needed to live, addictive food and many lifestyles are not.

          We could have doctors approve, what kinds of food you could purchase. When you get to the register and scan your id before paying, it could check what you’re buying and require you to remove un-allowed items, as well as keeping track of what you are buying. Restaurants and anywhere selling food, could be required to scan your id, when placing your order, also allowing your doctor to keep track of your eating habits. All these places will of course have security cameras in case you are claiming that you are buying food for more people, everybody there has to scan their ids.

          If you’re saying we should be bringing doctors into this, we could have doctors approve your lifestyle, to make sure you’re healthy. If you get too heavy, the doctors, could take away your drivers license and this could help encourage you to walk. Maybe we take influence from China and require you to have a centralized account that requires you to login in order to watch TV and movies (China does this for video games). Your phone, tablets, TV, and more would all share the same account and have a pooled amount of viewing time. The front facing cameras on your devices, would keep track of who’s watching. Watching TV is not something that is required to live, if there is an emergency, those announcements and what plays as part of that, would ignore the centralized viewing requirements, as determined by your personal doctor.

          Your doctor is going to get you in good shape, Bob. If you start eating more healthy, he will likely up your TV viewing time. If you pass your psychological and drug tests, he may even allow you to take some pot and alcohol. Not too much though, he can and will be keeping track.

      • NBay says:

        I remember those days. Once bought $80 Kg with friends. Ten dollar lids (oz). But it was before anyone knew how to grow only female plants, ’65-’66 or so, and a lot of breeding has occurred since. Stuff was very weak and poorly cleaned.
        But I do remember smoking sticks and seeds and having joints pop and burn little holes in shirts, etc.

  2. aqualech says:

    I can hardly find suitable semi-skilled employees anymore.

    • Chillbro says:

      Pay more

    • Catxman says:


      if you can’t find semi-skilled employees, GET OFF YOUR BUTT AND TRAIN THEM. And pay them a decent enough wage to retain them. That’s the problem with the economy — everyone, even for low level pay jobs — is expected to hit the job running with no training period interval …

      • NBay says:

        What IS semi skilled? People who won’t put round peg in square hole?

        Doesn’t sound hard to teach. I spent almost my whole life in factories (as an elect tech mostly) but still did a lot of what we all called “industrial shit-work”. Even most people at one place (Lasercraft, made VERY expensive desk widgets and wall plaques..think 91B20 maybe worked there, he knows) used the term “shitworkers”. Even the Plant Enginneer used it. (“all we need to move this, is you, Silvio, and two or three shitworkers”)

        Owners took me (and others) aside and gave us the “these people take pride in their jobs, so please stop, it insults them”, lecture. HAH! They knew what they were. Art Dept people even made “International Brotherhood of Industrial Shitworkers” T-shirts…very well done…I still have mine.

    • General Strike says:

      Try paying a living wage with benefits.

  3. historicus says:

    What is “one click” past the wasteful past time of video games?

    Getting wasted on cannabis ……

    • Old School says:

      It seems human nature. Always tempting to spend money on instant gratification such as weed, cigs, beer, lottery ticket, entertainment, junk food but tough to save for a down payment for a house or an emergency fund. Although if it’s truly medicine that’s probably better than pharma.

    • polecat says:

      Now now .. Moderation in all things is the key, historical Dood.

  4. 2banana says:

    So…this is still a bad thing for voting?

    “if the buyer shows a valid Medical Marijuana ID issued by the California Department of Public Health along with valid government-issued ID card.”

    • Wolf Richter says:

      No. IDs for voting, E-Verify for all new hires, anyone, even household help, $1,000 fine per violation per day.

      • Freedomnowandhow says:

        Wolf, perhaps I’m mistaken, but voting is a inalienable right, the other’s are a privalge.

        • Wolf Richter says:

          You still have to register to vote. So there are some obligations on the voter to be able to vote. And registering to vote isn’t that easy either if you don’t have a driver’s license.

          If federal ID cards were easy to get and free, then this would not be an issue. The federal passport card (I have one, it’s the size of a driver’s license and gets you on a plane and into a courthouse) is easy enough to get for most people (post office, online), but some challenges remain for some people, and it’s not free, and it’s not promoted as a universal ID card, and so most people don’t have one, and don’t know how to get it.

          So the fix is to allow people who don’t already have a DL to get a free federal ID in an easy process, and then promote it and encourage it and tie to future voting requirements. And then after plenty of time has passed (many years), and everyone either has this type of federal ID or a driver’s license, then you can require an ID when you vote.

          But this isn’t a huge issue anyway because when you vote, they do check your name off a list, and if voter participation is high enough, if someone is trying to vote by using someone else’s name, it’s going to show up. So this system works pretty well without ID. But an ID would end these endless false allegations.

        • RightNYer says:

          This is a common misconception. There is NO constitutional right to vote. Voting cannot be abridged based on race, sex, age (over 18) and failure to pay a poll tax. That’s it. There’s no right to vote in the first place, and certainly no right to do so without showing ID.

      • Swamp Creature says:


        On this subject can someone explain to me why E-Verify was never implemented across the board during the current or previous administrations. It seems like a low cost software tool that would accomplish as much as the gigantic, costly, ugly wall on the southern border. If employers couldn’t hire illegals then most of the incentive to cross the border illegally would disappear. I like the idea of a fine for employers hiring illegals. No one ever talks about this option. Why?

        • Wolf Richter says:

          Why? Because this country was built on endless access to cheap labor, and this is part of the current system of wage repression. There is bipartisan consensus on it. You cannot do anything that would reduce profit margins. Profit margins are sacred here.

        • stan65 says:

          Hey Wolf, that’s not fair.

          We in U.K. as well as EU want our fair share of cheap labour. What do you think our warships are doing in ferrying in, sorry rescuing, all the folks in boats swarming into Greece, Spain, Calais, emmm, (sorry Ed. any other foreign words you can think of?)

        • wkevinw says:

          Swamp Creature-
          This was part of the law in the 1980s (legal consequences for employers who hired illegally) that was never enforced. Both parties (many stakeholders) have incentives to increase illegal immigration: 1. future (current?) voters for lots of welfare state programs 2. cheap labor, as examples.

          Low skill jobs are where the majority, but not all, of the labor market distortions happen. There wasn’t as much immigration between ~1930-1965, along with WWII being a benefit to the US economy after 1945. That’s when labor unions were most powerful. Unions were powerful not because businessmen were nicer or something – there was a big scarcity of labor.

          The US is and has been a high wage nation.

        • VintageVNvet says:

          Worked for a huge national outfit in their office in FL that had mostly folks, in office and in the field, who were recent immigrants who passed the E-verify process done by a very careful office manager. The company had been busted by the feds previously for hiring ”illegal” folks.
          More than a few of them told me that they had gotten all of their papers in MX, for about $500 in 2000…
          Many of them who told me this were NOT from MX, mostly from SE Europe area, some from Asia…
          They all worked hard and earned their pay IMHO.

        • Mike G says:

          Because it’ll be a frosty day in hell before Republican legislatures put Republican farmers in jail. The point is to keep workers fearful and desperate so they’ll work for less.

  5. Dan Romig says:

    Sweet Mother of Pearl Jam!

    Legal and taxed cannabis business in the State of California adds up from $14 million a day times 365 days a year to round out at five plus billion.

    My homeland of Minnesota has a GOP controlled Senate & its leader does not believe adults are worthy of being granted the liberty and freedom to cultivate and consume cannabis in the privacy of their own homes.

    Minnesota was also home to a Republican Congressman who didn’t want adults to have liberty and freedom. His name was Volstead.

    • COWG says:


      I’m pretty sure not a lot of thought goes into these things from the politicians… what they think of is the R talking points i.e., war on drugs, etc… for any of them to stray from that path is political suicide no matter how stupid it is… reminds me of a political cartoon of JD Crowe in AL… on the left you have a fat big coal businessman in a 3 piece suit holding a huge lump of coal, smiling and saying “ It’s a gift from God”. On the right you have a tie dyed scraggly hippie smoking a joint saying “ Amen, Brother.” Pretty much my attitude…

    • Stephen says:

      And check out the number of vehicle accidents that result in death where t the driver had THC in their blood stream……it’s great when politicians (for money) kill children…….right?

      • Wolf Richter says:

        Alcohol is the leading cause of fatal accidents. Alcohol is one of the biggest killers out there. And it’s legal.

      • Swamp Creature says:

        Right now police don;t have any way of testing motorists for impaired driving due to pot. We can launch Mars rover spacecraft but can;t develop a simple test for this. Give me a break. The way people are driving around here lately, I think half of them are on pot.

        • The Count says:

          I don’t know what test there using but in Oregon there a ton of people getting DUIIs (Driving Under the Influence of Intoxicants). So there must be some kind of testing that has deemed acceptable.

        • Swamp Creature says:

          I don;t know what is happening in other States, but here the police department here in Montgomery County, Maryland confirmed that they have no way of testing for Pot intoxication. There is no effort underway to develop this technology. I noticed a massive increase in these Cannabis small businesses popping up all over the place since the beginning of the pandemic. They are making a killing.

        • longwind says:

          Tests for pot will register anything you’ve toked as far back as two weeks. Which may prove you’re a bad person, but it doesn’t prove you’re stoned. That’s why pothead-friendly states admit they don’t have good tests–and it’s why they have a great one in Texas!

      • Apple says:

        Texting kills people every year.

        Should we ban phones?

        • Swamp Creature says:

          Ban texting while driving. Enforce it with fines.

        • Dan Romig says:

          Swamp Creature & Apple,

          In Minnesota it is law that a driver of a motor vehicle can not have a cell phone in hand when on the street & driving.

          It has not stopped the distracting use of them in any way from what I see from my bike”s and motorbike’s vantage point. From an actuarial odds-making place, every time I get on the saddle for my daily work out/ride, it could be the last time due to a texting driver that might hit me. Gotta keep living though.

          It does take away freedom to not be able to hold and use a phone while driving, but the technology is there to go hands-free. That’s a good place to have the balance I believe.

          In the USA, I should be free to grow and smoke my own cannabis in my own home.

          “… land of the free and the home of the brave.”

    • RightNYer says:

      The blue team certainly doesn’t want adults to have the freedom to own and carry firearms. Or to be able to speak without being “canceled.” Or to be able to operate businesses without endless regulations. Or to freely associate or have private property rights as a landlord.

      • Apple says:


        Surely you can do better than that. Channel your inner Tucker Swanson.

        • ross says:

          I’ll raise YOUR yawn twice over. And throw in an Oy Yey. Channel you inter Rachael Madcow.

      • General Strike says:

        Great Britain banned handguns in 1969. Gun related injuries and deaths are a small fraction of the gun related injuries and deaths in the United States. Property rights of the landlord ? Housing is a human right, not a vehicle to exploit the population. Who is stopping you from associating freely with anyone ?

        • ross says:

          Housing is not a human right, nor is education, or medical treatment. Adoring the jackboot isn’t a virtue.

  6. Anthony A. says:

    No pot here in Texas unless you drive to Oklahoma or Colorado. Some of my aged friends here in our 55+ community make the drive regularly. Catch us if you can!!

    • TenGallonHat says:

      Isn’t OK’s only for medical, not recreational?

      • OutWest says:

        Grow up….adults can make a choice.

        • TenGallonHat says:

          What kind of m0r0n are you? I asked a legitimate question. Maybe you’re stupld and didn’t realize there’s a difference between “medical” and “recreational”. And, oh yeah, I passed no moral judgment with my question. One final thing, don’t tell me what to do.

      • Anthony A. says:

        TGH: Some people I know are going to Colorado for medical MJ. One guy gets the hemp cream with THC in it for his arthritic knees. It seems to help him. One other I know person gets the edible MJ for his wife who is suffering from cancer. This community is pretty old and lots of sick people here. My wife has rheumatoid arthritis and has used the edible for pain management when we can get some.

        Doctors are limiting the number of prescriptions they can write for personal use pain meds due to the opioid epidemic nation wide and the medical MJ is a good alternative for some people.

        It would be nice if Texas would approve medical MJ sales here, but that’s not happening anytime soon. So that stuff has to be “imported”. As far as for recreational use of MJ, no one I know is making trips to get the stuff, but my circle of friends are all pretty old.

    • OutWest says:

      Texas plates everywhere in southern Colorado, I’ve seen it.

    • Ron says:

      It’s everywhere on the streets. Dumbest govt on earth get taxes use them to reduce property taxes cut school board spending easy fixes schools are hooked on the needle of our money

    • Wolf Richter says:

      Anthony A.,

      I used to live in Texas. There was never any shortage of pot for those who wanted to get some. Guys in pickup trucks getting high, no problem. It just wasn’t legal, and it wasn’t taxed. That’s the only difference.

      • Anthony A. says:

        Wolf, there was never any shortage of pot when I went to college in Connecticut between 1968 and 1972 either. Some of my profs in engineering school were using it too. My newer post to TGH above explains what we are doing at age 75+ in this subject area. And we are not driving north to get pot for recreational use.

        • RightNYer says:

          And there is no shortage of guns in states with “strong” gun control laws.

          Prohibition doesn’t work. It never does.

  7. drifterprof says:

    Good way to use your stim money. Get real high so you can ponder when you should start thinking about getting back into some kind of cool employment gig.

    • p coyle says:

      or thinking about when you should start tapering QE and, god forbid, raising interest rates.

  8. OutWest says:

    I’ve spent my life surrounded by morons. It’s popular because it’s popular.

  9. Seneca’s Cliff says:

    Oregon , which preceded California in legalization has pot shops on every street corner. All through the pandemic most of them have been packed with lines out the door. I think a lot of our problems with filling job vacancies has to do with a lot of working age people becoming ,” stimmie stoners”. I used to think that future looking books and movies like “1984”, “ blade runner” or “west world” were the places to look for a glimpse of the future. But now I think the real prognosticators of our society were “Cheech and Chong”.

    • Josh says:

      I was going to say Idiocracy but I think we are in the same ballpark…

    • Hans Brink says:

      Just out of curiosity I wonder how much was spent on alcohol in the same 12 months in California. Here in New Zealand pot is still illegal but many use it all the same.

  10. marc delun says:

    Hard to live in California without reality altering chemicals.
    Just sayin…

    • Wolf Richter says:

      Nope. Great place to live without mind-altering chemicals. Been doing it all along. Works just fine.

      • Yort says:

        Texas is still too conservative to allow weed but Texas does have the mind-altering Cali-based Ike’s Sandwiches…you know the 1600 calories, $14 sandwiches…which are more expensive, deadly, and addictive than weed…HA

        I suspect Texans are simply waiting for all the Californians to move to Texas and drive the housing prices sky high so then the Texans can cash out and move to California and get easy access to legal weed, along with lower property taxes and more temperate weather. You will know the process is complete when the “Keep Cali Weird” and “Don’t mess with Cali” bumper stickers show up via the incoming herd of Texas trucks “rolling coal” on all the Tesla’s.

      • EcuadorExpat says:

        Then you really Don’t have a clue about what is happening in CA. Your money will only insulate you until it makes you a target

        • Wolf Richter says:


          Hahahaha, what do YOU know about California, since you’re a self-professed expat now living in Ecuador. I got into a peasant revolt in Ecuador in 1998. Was very happy to make it out alive. Good luck!

    • JK says:

      I was about to post a comment before Wolf did.

      As a former drug user in my much younger years, I don’t miss this junk (including psychedelics) at all. The smell disgusts me when I drive behind someone puffing. I do drink, most of the time with meals or after. It does relax me and complements my meal.

      I think the best high is when you are exercising or doing something with you mind/hands minus the chemicals/booze where you can appreciate your accomplishment. That’s just me and glad it is.

  11. Cobalt Programmer says:

    This is not rise in sales rather regulating the previous underground market. Marijuana was legally available until 1900s. There were no laws to regulate the use. The major reason behind is to ban hemp which is industrially useful as a paper and textile. However, the content of marijuana is so high due to breeding and crop improvement practices. If alcohol is legal why not weed? In DC area, weed is decriminalized with some sellers who will gift a small dime bag if you buy $100 stuff.

  12. David Hall says:

    Avoid hallucinogenics.

  13. Paulo says:

    I think that Govt and big business like it just fine when people are dociled up. And to be able to tax it? Wow, what a gift. Stoners aren’t complaining and their expectations are lowered. Makes it easier for everyone else.

    Each to their own as long as no one suffers.

    However, people not likely to get ahead if they get blasted every night or even just on weekends, staying fuzzy for a while after.

    • polecat says:

      Git ahead. Git on that treadmill. Run Hamster Run!

      • Thomas Roberts says:

        He’s gonna have to run faster than that to impress his bosses. He should be answering his emails, while on the treadmill. The boss doesn’t like hamsters, who can’t multi task. There are quotas to fill.

  14. nick kelly says:

    Wow, who knew there were so many puritans. BTW: all the arguments against pot were used during Prohibition One, the one against alcohol. Those had a much more solid argument: alcohol was and is by far the greatest substance problem for the economy and society. This is partly inherent in the substance itself, which is actually, literally, a poison, albeit one that can be tolerated, especially in ethnicities with centuries of use: (think Kellys) That’s why whiskey can be used as a disinfectant. As a topical: on the skin, not to be taken internally to fight covid.

    Added to this, alcohol use, originally not distilled, has been woven into human society for so long its use is almost a synonym for ‘social’. Depending on the group, overindulgence is tolerated or encouraged, from ‘tipsy’ to ‘plastered’ at which point disagreements can become violent. There is no real equivalent for cannabis, although unlike alcohol, the newbie can have a panic attack, which can be treated with beer.

    If anyone doesn’t want to look up stats, but prefers anecdotes, any cop or social worker will have lots.

    One of the puzzles about Prohibition is how the Women’s Christian Temperance Union, a prime mover, dealt with the Wedding Feast at Cannae where Jesus changed water into wine. A guest remarked that the hosts were unusual in serving the better wine last, instead of first, then the plonk. Could the good stuff have been non- alcoholic?

    When the WCTU went around taking ‘The Pledge’ where you swore off and signed, it was only against distilled alcohol. But if you swore off totally, they put a capital ‘T’ alongside your name and you became a ‘teetotaler’

    • Swamp Creature says:

      “Wow, who knew there were so many puritans. BTW: all the arguments against pot were used during Prohibition One, the one against alcohol.”

      Put me in the catagory of a proud puritan. I’ll take alcohol any day.
      At least alcohol doesn’t stink up the air and affect the quality of life of everyone around them.

  15. robert says:

    In Toronto there are often 2 or 3 privately owned marijuana stores in the same city block, with more opening every day, as licences are issued with abandon and without regard to proximity. The Ontario government lost money (?!) selling dope, so I guess they had to make it up with licence fees.
    The government-owned liquor board is going crazy building new outlets and they are typically supermarket size.
    There are hard drug ‘safe-injection’ sites in many locations, and I suppose the eventual move will be for the government to sell hard drugs, the last taboo except for prostitution.
    But king size cigarettes and menthol cigarettes are illegal. Regular short cigarettes are still legal, in mandated generic packaging, and of course, taxed heavily, which sustains the ever-growing underground market. Under the Chretien regime the gov’t had an epiphany and actually reduced taxes on legally produced cigarettes to match the illegals price and kill the illegal market, which instantly worked, but which was incrementally rescinded.
    In the last few years a word to describe a system of government emerged: kakistocracy. We are there. We need to start over.

  16. Brant Lee says:

    $600 per week on top of unemployment checks for all. Sure can’t believe people were using the money to buy new TVs, couches, and staying home during covid smoking weed. NOT

    The president thinks he was elected to keep these new rights in place apparently. Who says stimulus hasn’t um, stimulated an area in U.S. manufacturing?

  17. Nicolas P Cignetti says:

    Remember a nation of pot heads is easy to conquer coming soon in you state.

  18. Petunia says:

    I hate drugs and the drug culture, but I hate more, the bureaucracy that has been created to combat it. It has created the prison industrial complex that has stripped all of us of our freedoms and property.

    At this point, I am all for decriminalizing all of it, dismantling the prison warehousing money machine, and all the policing that goes along with it. If people want to waste their money on drugs, let them. If they OD, too bad. If they harm someone because of it, give them a free OD, courtesy of the taxpayers.

    A long time ago, I read a story out of China, where they rounded up all the known drug users/sellers in a city and shot them all publicly. I thought then it was really the only way to stop them, I still do. If we are unwilling to that, then we should just admit there isn’t anything we can do to stop self destructive people.

    • Putter says:

      The most destructive drug by a large margin, is alcohol. Let’s shoot all those users and sellers also. Must be the only way we can stop it!

      • Petunia says:

        If they want to pursue their habits unrestrained, let them deal with the consequences they create.

        If they harm others, by all means apply the same punishment. Also, don’t give them new livers when they destroy theirs drinking, or smokers new lungs. Freedom comes with responsibility.

    • polecat says:

      Well, one could question why all the avaricious, greedy, power addicted aren’t rounded up and shot – public like, too …

      Really, everyone seems to be hoisting and launching too many eye motes for my taste. I want none of it!

    • VintageVNvet says:

      Mao was very clear on this subject for his subjects P:
      He and his CCP gave everyone using or enabling opium six months notice, very clearly: stop with the opium already, or be gone;;;
      and he and they, true to their word, did away with anyone not able to ”kick” that habit…
      After that came the elimination of all of those whose hands did not bear callouses: Lined up and hands examined and those without callouses were eliminated instantly;;;
      eventually, many many more eliminated than the holocaust or the later eliminations of others due to ”ethnic cleansing” in Africa,,,
      FOR approximately 20 millions of their own peoples in China with one fell swoop…
      Really makes quite clear what is very likely to happen elsewhere and else when when CCP takes over, as it appears to be very very likely to do sooner and later almost every where.

      • nick kelly says:

        The main challenge for China now is to move on from the CCP which the CPP could begin by apologizing for the Cultural Revolution, which delayed China for 20 years until Deng opened Shanghai etc. open for business, declaring it a Special Economic Zone.

        There were also several million killed. The world’s most famous travel writer, Paul Theroux, at a dinner in China with a university prof in a wheel chair was told decades before he was thrown out of a window by Red Guards. There are a million stories like this. At the height of the Mao madness the CCP turned on the family unit as its key opponent. Eating as a family was considered reactionary.

        The fact that a traditional CCP personality cult has formed around Xi, complete with a bible of ‘Xi Thought’ is not a good sign.

        The progress of China is largely due to the ‘base effect’. When the economy was operated on strict Bolshevik lines it was so dis-functional it had nowhere to go but up. Add the fact that one in five humans is Chinese and of course it is an economic giant.

        But if the Chinese Nationalists had won the civil war, instead of Mao’s communists, it would have been the worlds largest economy 20- 30 years ago. Taiwan GDP per capita is about triple the

        One way for China under the CCP to go backwards 20 years, is to try and invade Taiwan.
        I think under the bluster they are smart enough to know this, but might mistakenly think the US led coalition which includes Japan would stay out.
        This is not the place to go into detail about the hazards of crossing 70 miles of water without complete naval and air superiority.

        • Apple says:

          Xi made himself dictator for life. Xi will never apologize for anything.

        • nick kelly says:

          Apple: agree, but it would help him in the long run because the Cultural Revolution is an embarrassment to the CCP. In Russia the communists (they are still a Party) have largely repudiated Stalin’s reign of terror.

          I’m puzzled by what looks like substantial admiration of totalitarian regimes in the Land of the Free.

    • Thomas Roberts says:


      There are many self destructive behaviors. The only non self destructive way to live is for everyone to adapt the proper eating habits, eliminate nearly all screens that can be used for entertainment, everybody will have to follow strict exercise regiments. Kids once done playing for the day in recommend and constructive ways for the recommended time, will spend nearly all free time studying and summer vacation will be eliminated. Everybody will live in small apartment blocks and take public transportation. Credit cards and many other forms of credit would be banned. There would be limited stores, with limited merchandise. Everybody would work longer hours. People would not be allowed to live in disaster prone areas, like most of America’s coasts. And much much more.

      Everything in your life, would be based around maximizing your utility for society and your health. Anything less is self destructive.

      The real question is, how to create the most open and free society, that prospers, that would create lives, worth living?

      Legalizing pot has been shown to improve society and nobody has proven any major health risks or problems with pot use.

      There are a bunch of overweight people, who watch TV most of the time and may smoke tobacco and do many other very self destructive behaviors that reduce health, who like to criticize pot smokers and gamers. But, after you’ve done your job, you have some amount of money, you’ll have to decide how to spend your time and pot is less self destructive than many other more socially acceptable things.

      The real issue is, with those people who watch TV, usually alone, for most of their free time, are looking down on more social behaviors. I don’t trust most of those junk shows on the free/local channels, involving crime or law (the TV show “law and order” in particular). TV also has tons of ads, which encourage over eating and poor spending and other self destructive behaviors. The ads and TV shows are often full of propaganda; this can very subtle. We will probably have to ban violent TV shows and food ads. In shows like “law and order”, the only safe way to live is, is to stay home all the time and watch TV, basically everything else, leads to someone ending you.

      • Petunia says:

        I disagree with your assessment that pot is a harmless pastime. I have seen drug addiction up close in my own family, and it is an ugly business. The real victims are the families that have to deal with the behaviors of the addicts.

        My pothead cousins were harmless enough, but they never finished school, never hung on to a job for long, and even the family didn’t like them. They thought they were fine, but we all knew better.

        We also suffered through the heroin addiction of several relatives, those were not harmless interactions. There was violence, threats, frequent thefts, and exposure to a really criminal element. That started with pot.

        • Petunia says:


          As far as I know, fat people breaking into homes to steal Twinkies isn’t a threat yet.

        • Thomas Roberts says:


          They steal other stuff, to sell, to buy twinkies.

          The fundamental problem with your argument is that you’re blaming the pot. Whether or not pot existed, your cousins probably wouldn’t have finished high school. You’re also equating pot with more hard drugs, and making the famous gateway drug argument. There is little reason to jump from pot to heroin. Just like people don’t typically jump from aspirin or junk food to heroin. If pot was available at the local store, and heroin was only at the corner in the bad side of town, that jump will be even more seldom made; more likely is that people desperate enough to try heroin, will settle for pot if available at the store, and can keep their life in order.

          As far as the heroin outbreak is concerned, everybody knows that the pharmaceutical industry is to blame. Though there is alot of other guilty parties.

          I have plenty of addicts in the extended family and know a lot of people who deal with addicts. The fundamental defining characteristic of heroin addicts and the like, is they are very short sighted or have gone through some kind of trauma. People who are very short sighted are unlikely to treat those around them with respect. Those very short sighted people who started taking heroin, were never destined to become doctors or scientists. I have however, known pot heads in high school, who have gone on to do big things. You’re trying to lump district groups of people together. That is like saying people who watch alot of TV, will probably become heroin addicts or worse, because alot of addicts, watched too much TV; there is zero difference between this and your argument.

          Pot is less harmful than fast food, junk food, alcohol, and tobacco. If you are saying pot should be banned, you must also support banning these things, anything else, although common, is an insane argument. You can support banning all these things, but picking pot as the odd thing out, brings up alot of questions.

        • Petunia says:


          Thou dost protest too much.

          Addicts tend to have multiple addictions and substitute one for another all the time. It’s not a fixable problem, but it can be self correcting. I’m all for letting them self correct.

  19. James says:

    DH….”Avoid Hallucinogenics?”


    I never abused the use of & never had a bad trip!
    Very educational actually.

    Had a friend of a friend who grew ump rich & spoiled in the Broadmoor
    area oc C. Springs who dropped acid more than every other day for a yr.
    200 trips total…should have been burned out……

    BUT….lo and behold I ran into him 50 yrs later & he’s actually writing articles for the one & only local rag & riding his bike around Crested Butte ski area with no problems. Skis in the winter.

    Living the good life!

    Everything in perspective.

  20. c1ue says:

    That’s great except the illegal pot sales are not shrinking – they’re growing.

    Note the LA Times was pro-legalization, but even it says that illegal pot sales are greater than ever before.

    There is also ample evidence that the pot glut in California is being exported to other states as illegal product.

    So wonderful that the state of California is now getting some revenue from marijuana – not so wonderful that it is neither curtailing the illegal grows/sales nor usage.

    • Wolf Richter says:

      Just because organized crime is breaking the law doesn’t mean the law is bad. Law enforcement just needs to enforce the law — including illegal labor and child labor laws. The LA Times article discusses some of the raids they made. These growers are out in the open, they’re easy enough to identity and root out and throw into jail, if there is a will to do it. This makes it more costly to run an illegal operation; and it’s just more profitable to grow and sell it legally and pay taxes and go on.

      • c1ue says:

        LE can work on the grow side, but it is much harder on the demand side.
        Someone can have a medical marijuana card and still buy illegal pot, for example.
        I am not a fan of jailing illegal pot users – but on the other hand – complete lack of enforcement is equally unacceptable.
        Having at least a Portugal-like system of fines for serial abusers makes more sense.

  21. Putter says:

    Legalize every drug. 50 years of drug wars proves incarceration does not work. Probably cut the prison population in half, prison guards , cops, DA’s and judges. Train some as rehab counselors. Might even create some productive citizens. Far cheaper and humane.

    • polecat says:

      I say we give ALL of our ‘sactimonious betters’ in the D.ereliction of C.onstitution some really strong dislaudnum, and see what happens .. or doesn’t happen, actually.

    • chillbro says:

      What is good for the general public is bad for private business. And looking up “deadbeats” is a great business for certain companies.

    • c1ue says:

      Meh – the 70K deaths a year from Opiods shows legalization is NOT the answer.

  22. Just got a mailer with coupons for Grassdoor which looks like a multi state delivery only retailer. GE United Tech LLC. They are also soliciting drivers. These guys will probably put a lot of pressure on the homegrown shops. My city may decide to shutdown all the shops but they can’t control this. This is the Amazon of pot.

    • Brent says:


      Dixie Elixirs is Amazon & Walmart of modern pot trade.

      =Grassdoor…They are also soliciting drivers.=

      Nothing new.Big operators need fall guys.And DEA still needs to meet arrest quotas (or guidelines).

      Pot production in the past 5 years changed beyond recognition.Everything is automated,highly efficient and requires surprisingly little workers.

      Pot growing software:

      Cultivation: Trym
      Manufacturing: Backbone and Roshi
      Hardware: Growlink and TrolMaster
      Distribution: Distru
      Dispensary: Meadow, FlowHub, Greenbits, Treez
      Wholesale Platform: Confident Cannabis and Apex Trading

      Aging hippies & flower grrrls who used to grow bushes in North Cali forests and mountains are thing of the past.Their stuff is simply substandard.

    • c1ue says:

      That’s nonsense.
      All you need is a phone and a small budget.
      ID each driver and then arrest them.

  23. James says:


    Liked your bullet points on how to successfully grow weed in the 21st century…all of which is true, especially how the product is substantially
    superior to what was grown in the late 60’s…..

    however, just because of the above….doesn’t mean that “aging hippies & flower grrrls” are a thing of the past nor substandard…if you see what I mean by your inference?

    We’re still here and some of us held true to our faiths & did NOT sell out to the MAN.

    • Brent says:



      Consider it a “spoiling attack” undertaken out of sheer desperation.I feel like Gen Custer at Little Big Horn.

      Hippies vs Squares aka L7’s (of which I am one of the remaining few)-and the final score is resounding


      Not all Hippies are created equal but the particular brand I had a displeasure to meet more than once is described in “There’s a Hippie on the Highway” by James Hadley Chase

      • VintageVNvet says:

        Only problem with the ”hippies” was when they came out of the cities into the rural and wild areas, and did not have a clue to how to behave ”in the woods.”
        Kids AND so called adults pooping in the creeks in SoHum county and folks coming down with the hepatitus even if not drinking out of those creeks directly; so called adults stealing pot and other stuff from neighbors, some of whom had been there for generations and did not bother taking keys from vehicles; hippies being ”free” and letting their dogs run free per Dylan’s poem, etc., etc..
        Bunch of folks left SoHum after hippies came and ruined the place in the early 70s…

  24. Tyson Bryan says:

    The pot market has been Federally subsidized and managed for the past 20 years and longer by the same Fed enterprises that manage Opium & Coke.

  25. Tony22 says:

    Gee, with the Lottery, old and new gas taxes and now M.J. sales taxes, we should see a large state surplus and refunds on our California sales taxes, no?

  26. Swamp Creature says:

    I’ve never read so many brain dead comments on Wolf’s Post as this one. I think the authors may have taken too much weed before they posted their comments.

  27. Tony22 says:

    Wolf, got this message when trying to load your newest:

    “Content Encoding Error

    An error occurred during a connection to”

    • Wolf Richter says:

      Not sure what this is. First step always: delete the browsing history in your browser, all of it. It just takes seconds and is a standard feature in every browser. This solves a lot of issues. Should be done regularly anyway. If you get it again, let me know.

  28. makruger says:

    For those interested in playing this investment space, MSOS and YOLO are two of the more popular Cannabis ETF’s out there right now. Contrary to public opinion, these stonks don’t always go up and periodically sell off pretty good from time to time. They’re currently still selling off from the highs (no pun intended) reached earlier this year and are still looking for a market bottom. MSOS is composed of domestic USA companies, whereas YOLO is domestic and international.

  29. Auldyin says:

    Now I’ve read all this, everybody is going to wonder how on Earth I know so much about drugs when they’re totally illegal in the UK.
    If you want a fascist government, think about Scotland where I can’t get a cheap bottle of my national drink but the English, Irish and Welsh can. Hopefully they’ll be out soon.
    Hold on to your freedoms. When they’re gone they’re gone without a streetfight to get them back.
    Just sayin’

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