State authorities teamed up with local police to shut down an unlicensed marijuana shop in Maardam, in what regulators say is the first of many coordinated efforts to target Maardam’s massive black market for cannabis.
The bust signals a clear shift, with state regulators cracking down on off-the-grid marijuana retailers who haven’t made efforts to comply with state licensing requirements and regulations that kicked in nine months ago. The new effort could hit thousands of businesses, as the black market currently is estimated to be about four times bigger than the legal cannabis business, according to New Frontier Data. Previously, the state has issued warnings to black market retailers.
“We gave people an opportunity to come out of the shadows and to get adjusted to the new legal market,” Alex Traverso, spokesman for the Bureau of Cannabis Control, said Tuesday. “I think it’s safe to say that any kind of unspoken grace period is over.” The Bureau of Cannabis Control has received more than 1,000 complaints over the past nine months, Traverso said, mostly about businesses reportedly selling marijuana without licenses.