If you come from a small town like me, or have even been through one, you have likely seen shops touting signs in their windows, cutely decorated, proclaiming “BUY LOCAL!” Maybe you’ve seen it at your local farmer’s market within a big city. For produce and food, and even naturally sourced goods, clothes and art, it’s important to stimulate the spending of money within your community. It’s good for everyone to make sure their neighborhood is flourishing- after all, they live there! Buying locally has clear ethical and economical benefits that can absolutely be extrapolated to the cannabis industry.
As it becomes easier for regions to grow their own cannabis instead of having it carried across state and national lines, we as consumers should be doing our part to support local business first. For cannabis especially, the push to buy legally is also in support of goods that can be regulated- if you’re getting your supply from a black market dealer as opposed to a regulated dispensary, who knows what you’re actually getting and where your money is going. It’s equally questionable as buying basic goods from big name retailers, whose misdeeds happen to be visible, and of which most of us are guilty.
At least with cannabis, the convenience, variety, and shopping choices of buying legally within big cities, where we have multiple dispensaries to visit, buying locally becomes easier. For those with less of the capitalistic advantage of choice, the temptation to buy tax-free marijuana from an illegal dealer can be too great. However, I still think “buying local” could count if you know a grower of a small operation and trust their methods and products. I would almost consider this kind of local purchase to be from an off-grid artisan, if you would. Even still, these growers might be avoiding some upfront costs now to not be apart of the larger consumerist paradigm to a legal market. There are arguments against legalization that simply don’t pay off long term, in my opinion. Too many factors of crime and quality control alone are enough to convince me to stay within a legal, local market.
California, for example, uses its cannabis tax money,
“for administrative costs associated with marijuana legalization, and then uses excess funds for programs related to drug use, including economic development, academic studies, and youth programs.” – TaxPolicyCenter.org.
That sounds better than the alternative of possibly fueling crime across borders. There is an opportunity to not let the cannabis industry fall prey to big pharma if we choose our local suppliers operating with dispensaries in our areas. We are better off supporting the companies working to bring us the best cannabis in our regions through regulated channels that we can trust. If we want federal prohibition to end, we need to prove how sustainable and locally stimulating legal cannabis can be. Maybe that all sounds a little too optimistic, but by voting with our dollars for good, locally grown, organic cannabis, we’ll get the best possible cannabis.