LOS ANGELES (AP) — The nation’s largest legal marijuana market is struggling.
Illicit sales continue to thrive. A shaky supply chain has customers looking at barren shelves in some shops. There are testing problems. And a proposal to allow home marijuana deliveries in cities that have banned pot sales could lead to a courtroom fight.
A Los Angeles hearing Tuesday provided a window into the state’s emerging cannabis economy, in which early enthusiasm for broad legal sales has been followed by anxiety and frustration across a swath of the industry.
The state’s top marijuana regulator, Lori Ajax, said after the hearing that the state remains in a challenging transition period as it attempts to transform what was once a largely illegal market into a multibillion-dollar, regulated economy.
Putting aside whether or not you think pot should be legal, this is a case study of the free market. Instead of just making pot legal and letting the private sector bring it to market, California chose to heavily regulate the market from growing to distribution to consumption. The result was inevitable… barren shelves and a blossoming black market. Government bureaucrats trying to manage a market will never be as successful or efficient as millions of people making independent decisions in a free market.