With 11 states legalizing weed for recreational use and 21 with medical use on the books, marijuana seems to be high on everyone’s mind these days. The landscape out there is a far cry from what it was less than a decade ago with Colorado and Washington becoming the first two states to legalize pot for recreational use back in 2012. Since then hundreds of dispensaries have popped up across the country with a myriad of amazing flower strains and THC infused products. This is great news for those in a legal state, but what about those stuck in states that still frown upon this awesome plant?

Wheelin’ and Dealin’

The word drug dealer conjures up an image of a tough guy who is mean and out to hurt the community in any way possible. This can be thanked because of the “ultra-successful” War on Drugs and campaigns like DARE that taught youngsters the evils of marijuana. Granted, there are some really gnarly and life-destroying drugs on the streets, but your typical pot dealer is usually a pretty chilled out kind of person. Despite the rise of legal weed and medical dispensaries, there will always be a place for the black market pot dealer and here is why.

States That Still Ban Cannabis

First and foremost, there are plenty of states that still think that weed is more damaging to your life than alcohol and cigarettes. Most Americans are finding this sentiment to be completely absurd nowadays, but lawmakers are swayed by big businesses and religious organizations and not often the people. For states that outright ban or limit access to cannabis for medical patients a drug dealer may be the only way to get some weed when looking for some recreational fun. There’s also plenty of states that do not even have medical on the books so a dealer is a single option in those places.

Dispensaries are Spendy!

Anyone who has been inside a dispensary in a legal state will tell you the products can be quite pricey. Though there is a wide array of options from the traditional flower to waxes, oils, and even edibles the prices are definitely higher than street prices. This is because the state itself imposes quite a hefty tax on the product and even the municipality will often levy a tax. Tack that on to the fact that the shop needs to pay employees, pay rent, utility bills, and other kinds of overhead fees. All of this adds up and gets pushed down to the consumer resulting in prices that are usually higher than your local pusher. Although sometimes the higher prices can justify the variety of products and the convenience of buying in a dispensary. But all these factors together keep people visiting the black market as well. There are even people out there who will see a dealer for certain items like flower and visit a dispensary for others such as edibles.

Not Old Enough

Another thing that keeps street-level dealers in business is age restrictions. Most states limit the age to buy cannabis at a dispensary to 21. This can be bad news for someone looking to have recreational puff, but have not reached their 21st birthday yet. The only option for those who are not of age yet is to buy from a drug dealer. Just like alcohol and tobacco the government has determined you are old enough to go die for your country, but not take part in any vices until you are what they consider old enough.

Friendly Neighborhood Drug Dealer

Even when weed does become legal on a federal level you can be sure that these aspects will keep drug dealers in the business. With so many restrictions on buying and using bud, you can be sure there will always be someone there to meet the demand. These entrepreneurs have even found loopholes in the legal system like donations in exchange for a product. For example, in Colorado, before the system truly got off the ground you would see ads on Craigslist that asked for a “donation” for lighting equipment, electricity, and other grow supplies in exchange for some of that recreational good stuff.

In conclusion, if you have ever asked yourself if drug dealers are even still a thing? Now you have your answer. The black market will never truly disappear and the reasons listed above are just a small sampling of the myriad of issues that will keep it alive.