Black market for California pot growers

May 5, 2012 at 1:41 PM
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ARCATA, Calif., May 5 (UPI) -- Marijuana growers in California say they are worried federal crackdowns and the closure of dispensaries will send the industry back into the black market.

The so-called Emerald Triangle -- a region in northern California known for its growth of legal marijuana -- is under pressure from an oversaturation of pot growers. With hundreds of legal dispensaries being shut down for alleged racketeering, many harvests can't be sold, The Sacramento Bee reported Saturday.

"Last I heard, a pound of marijuana is $800 for outdoor grown," said Mendocino County Sheriff Tom Allman in Ukiah. "That's plummeting. You might do better with tomatoes."

The price plummet has caused some growers to transport or ship marijuana out of the area for higher profits.

Last month, Pennsylvania police arrested a former Humboldt County, Calif., dispensary worker for allegedly shipping more than 25 pounds of marijuana, the Bee said. Nebraska police recently stopped a Mendocino County, Calif., couple who had 62 pounds of pot stuffed in duffel bags.

"People shouldn't have to sleep with one eye open," said Alison Sterling Nichols, executive director of the Emerald Growers Association. "People should be able to move from the black market into the light.

"We haven't been able to bridge that gap. We have hills of healthy outdoor product we can't take to the market."

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