One of the most common questions amongst cannabis consumers is whether people have ditched their dealers for dispensaries now that recreational weed is available. This was the carrot at the end of the stick for many voters, thinking that all of the Black Market deals would be gone as soon as dispensaries opened their doors.
This isn’t even close to what’s happening in Colorado – at least not with many long-term smokers.
Experienced smokers like myself have been buying from sources for years, sometimes decades. If you didn’t grow yourself, marijuana had (and has) been fairly accessible for many people no matter how illegal it was – through friends who grew in their closet operations, acquaintances, and sometimes the nefarious hookup. ‘It’s everywhere, has been and always will be,’ has been the legalization battle cry, but it seems to also be the legalization downfall.
Old habits die hard, especially when they are taxed as heavily as recreational marijuana is. Most cannabis consumers patronizing dispensaries are new consumers just starting out, people with high profile jobs and families just getting back into consuming and not wanting to jeopardize their success, and then there are the die-hard pro-legalization consumers who’ve fought tooth and nail for us to buy recreational weed, who pride themselves on supporting the system and are happy to pay the price and the tax because it’s progress.
Sadly, not all consumers have followed suit.
With the early days of cannabis prohibition still taking root in our Fort Collins community, the price seems to be keeping the Black Market alive. And not just alive, but thriving. Homegrow dealers have stepped up their game with marketing and customer service to compete for market share, knowing that they’ll always be able to beat the average price even if they have less product to choose from. Without paying taxes, following regulations, and overhead costs associated with a dispensary, the Black Market is alive and well in Fort Collins.
However, when people think of the “Black Market,” they often think of Mexican Cartels shipping brick weed into the U.S. I don’t know anyone in Colorado getting this kind of pot. This is what we had in Vegas nearly 15 years ago, and I’m sure times have changed. Here in Colorado, the Black Market is made of mostly hippy granola yoga folks, or college students with hemp necklaces driving 4Runners that their dads bought for them – and you can find them all on Craigslist.
If we’re not buying from a dispensary for Budding Fort Collins reviews, then we’re getting weed from good friends who are growing at home. On occasion, we’ve tried Craigslist to see what it’s all about. You can find them under the Beauty and Health link in the For Sale section.
Mixed with listings for barely used treadmills, therapeutic rice bags, and power wheelchairs, you’ll find ads for “crystallized flower” and claims of “this will BLOW your mind!” They always say they are Amendment 20/64 compliant, that they will check your ID to make sure you’re over 21 or that you have a red card.
They don’t really. Maybe it’s because we look older than 21, but who knows.
There’s really no trick to finding a good hookup on Craigslist. It’s essentially knowing the strain you want and texting the contacts in hopes of getting a reliable response. As always with Black Market deals, you’re limited on choice, consistency, and reliability. These are the main reasons for justifying the price and taxation with legalized dispensary buys. You know what you’re getting, it’s relatively consistent (which is debatable right now), it’s convenient… and it’s legal. When you buy Black Market, it’s a crap shoot and you get what you pay for.
Here are three scenarios that we came across with Craigslist dealers:
The College Student
When we lived in Vegas, Bill was always the one to hook up with our dealers. They were shady as hell. Honest to god, it was no joke in that city back then. Things are very different in Fort Collins and he was confident enough to have me pick up a quarter from Craigslist.
After looking through the listings, we saw an ad that looked like someone put a little graphic design work into, has some strains that we’re familiar with, and was free to deliver. Yes – they deliver to you. I met up with an early 20-something kid who drove up in his 4Runner. It was the least shady Black Market buy ever, and pretty standard for Fort Collins.
The quality was alright. A little flat for a hybrid, so we didn’t save his number.
Bill met up with this dealer who had him come to their apartment. They buzzed him into the building and they were nice, giving him Vista Print business card in the process. However, they had a newborn. After hearing that, I had a huge problem with contacting them again. I am not supporting kids being subjected to the Black Market in any shape or form. They disappeared from Craigslist soon after. We bought Blue Dream from them and it was great quality. Too bad, I wasn’t doing it again.
This is an undeniable risk you take with Craigslist and one that makes my skin crawl having been in the same position as those kids. I hate it.
This was a very interesting deal, and one that solidified my assessment on the Black Market thriving in competition. It was a random ad that Bill had sent a text to because of the strain they had listed for “donation.” They were the first people to respond after texting about 5 other ads. They set up a time to deliver and ended up discounting their donation quote because they were 30 minutes late. It was straight up like the Domino’s Pizza delivery deal.
The Jet Fuel strain came in reused dispensary bottles with the medicinal child-lock lids, but with the label of a different strain. So, who knows where they are getting this from, but we’re pretty certain that they probably test strains from dispensaries and buy clones to grow at home. But again, who knows. However, this strain was amazing! I’m actually going to write a strain review on this, because it was that great.
After this, we automatically became enlisted on their text messaging updates about daily strains, just like any other business marketing practice. We had to tell them to unsubscribe our number. Weird.
Most of the pros with Black Market deals revolve around skirting the outrageous prices from dispensaries, but you’re also sacrificing a lot for that – which was the whole problem with the Black Market in the first place. It’s a slow evolution with cannabis legalization. As time goes on, I’m sure we’ll see the dispensary prices drop and become more competitive with Black Market rates. It’s going to take years to dismantle that system. I often think about the comparison to bathtub gin and backwoods moonshine. It’s still being made, but at some point after prohibition, it faded away as common practice and buying from legal distilleries was easier.
We’ll get there with cannabis eventually.