A legal bank offers opportunities for illicit trade, say a hemp dealer in Calgary and a manufacturer who supplies its products.
They say they fill the supply gap for medical users left behind by the emphasis on recreational marijuana, using higher prices and lower quality legal cannabis.
According to them, the chaos of legalization in the early years, marked by a shortage of supplies, also plays into their hands.
“(Patients) should receive information from the illicit market — the government does not have the tools or the necessary quality,” said Tim, who produces various types of cannabis in a warehouse near Nelson, DC, which supplies Calgary to the market.
“Some of the things that come from the shops are the experience of first-class manufacturers, these are very low-quality things.”
According to Tim, manufacturers of high-quality marijuana in Kootenay in British Columbia, some of whom have been trading for four decades, are “more loaded than ever”.
The man said that he can produce from 10 to 15 pounds. marijuana every three months in soil operations and hydroponics.
About 70 percent of this, he said, is sent to consumers of health services as part of a hybrid black market operation, which, he said, is common in a sector that is replete with legal gray areas.
“I received (the federal government) a license for up to 75 plants … I am allowed to give to patients,” said Tim.
He points to problems plaguing Manitoba’s licensed producer Bonify, who admitted that he was distributing marijuana of unknown origin to Saskatchewan retailers, which is a sign of the sometimes questionable legal basis of a new industry.
For the past eight years, he has also contacted Greg, who manages the network in Calgary, known as Medi Man, and gathers customers when they leave the city’s marijuana stores.
These customers are handed a sample of his first-class "platinum" bud sewn onto a business card with telephone numbers for his dialer and delivery service.
“I would not want to beat them when they go to the store,” Greg said, adding that 80% of those who accept the sample make a purchase.
“Our regular customers love us … they say:“ I don’t know what I would do without you. ”
According to him, the business uses the attributes of the main business, a legal operation with a money back guarantee, free purchases with frequent purchases, age checks and even an advertising competition for customers.
“We give out tickets to the Snoop Dogg concert, we print a lot of (competitive) sheets,” Greg said.
And he points out that many consider excessive packaging of a legal pot, adding that its bud is sold in refillable glass jars.
His clients, he said, can check their purchases, unlike legal stores.
“You can't see, try, or try — you're stuck (legitimate purchase),” Greg said.
The man said that the business is so good that he is considering adding three more employees to his current staff of six.
According to him, this occupation, which began with a strict supply of consumers of medical cannabis, but with legalization is now half of its sales.
The city police, Greg said, know about his activities and even called him on one of the phone numbers of his business card in early December.
But he assured an officer who would not sell on the street, and since then the police have not contacted him.
“He has my numbers,” Greg said. "I told my people if they do not feel comfortable, do not work."
Farmer Tim, one of Greg's 15 growers in the Kootenay district, said he never felt threatened by law enforcement, explaining this to B. B.'s considerable tolerance.
Answering the question of what kind of future does the black market bank in Canada expect, both responded that many of those who are on the illegal side, including themselves, would like more of this basic action.
“This is rather unpredictable – I thought the government would try to enter the black market,” said Tim.
“This is quite confusing. We want to be a part of it – we are in limbo. ”
Greg said he creates a customer base for a legal future, but added that there will probably always be some kind of illegal sector.
“The lower the legal side depends on the price, the lower the black market will be … this is not something you can count,” he said.
At the same time, both say that they have set themselves the task of providing clients in the field of medicine and recreation.
“We want people to get a quality product,” Greg said.
Proponents of legalization in the government and the cannabis industry say that the new retail system will become more and more normalized and over time destroy the black market sector.
They also predict that the appearance of legal edible products next fall will significantly expand their industry and speed up the death of illegal operators.
on Twitter: @BillKaufmannjrn