by Patrick Appel
A reader writes:
As a former medicinal marijuana dispensary employee in California, I can tell you a thing or two about the market, at least in the Bay Area. As it turns out, the domestic/imported split is a somewhat classist affair.
For the most part, our 'high-grade' wares were entirely locally-grown. There is fierce competition among local growers to develop and refine more potent boutique strains, and to coax them to maximum profit-margins. So if you're buying good weed in California, it's almost a sure thing that it was grown in-state. On the other hand, if you can only afford the 'medium-grade' offerings, you may very well be buying product that came from Mexico or – equally likely – Canada. This is the bud that is grown hastily and in volume, then quickly dried and pressed into bricks, stuffed into tires, etc. So it's more likely that those pursuing a 'cheap' high are "helping to finance a particularly vicious and rapacious industry."
It's also worth remembering that a lot of 'Mexican' weed – the production of which is controlled by Mexican cartels – is actually grown domestically, often in remote area of state parks, in highly destructive operations. Decriminalization would dis-incentivize much of this market.