Black Market Weed Still Popular in Colorado, At Least for Now

By Shawn Dwyer 01/07/14

Due to high prices, low supplies, and municipal bans, Colorado’s pot smokers are still turning to illicit sellers.

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Despite the overwhelming success of the world’s first legal retail marijuana market, pot buyers in Colorado are still calling their dealers to make their purchases.

One of the biggest reasons has been price. According to, the average price for an eighth of an ounce of pot in Colorado retails for $65, but your local neighborhood dealer will sell the same high-quality herb for less than half the cost. And the reason is simple: high taxes. Back in November 2013, voters overwhelmingly approved of Proposition AA, which created a 15 percent excise tax on all wholesale marijuana sales that will be allocated to fund public school construction. The proposition also included a 10 percent special sales tax that will be used to fund marijuana regulation.

The fact that users are continuing to approach street dealers comes as no surprise to Colorado’s marijuana retailers. “I would think that I would be able to sell out of the cannabis that I had every day, because the demand is going to be so great,” said Toni Fox, owner of the 3D Cannabis Center in Denver, to the Colorado Springs Gazette last year. “When recreational opens up and there’s a limited supply, I don’t have a problem resetting my prices to street value and hopefully making a profit finally.”

Another concern has been the potential downgrading of quality due to rising demand amidst dwindling supplies. And, of course, not all municipalities have okayed the sale of pot, forcing buyers outside more progressive areas like Denver to score their weed.

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Shawn Dwyer is a writer, editor and content producer living in Los Angeles. You can find him on Linkedin.