“When legal marijuana goes on sale, sometime next spring, the black market will not simply vanish; over-the-counter pot will have to compete with illicit pot. To support the legal market, Kleiman argued, the state must intensify law-enforcement pressure on people who refuse to play by the new rules. A street dealer will have to be arrested in the hope that ‘you will migrate that dealer’s customers into the taxed-and-regulated market.’”

“He left the city councillors with a warning: without intensified law enforcement, pot legalization might not succeed. ‘The illicit market is a paper tiger,’ he concluded. ‘But a paper tiger doesn’t fall over until you push it.’”

Patrick Radden Keefe goes to Washington State for The New Yorker to explore what it really takes to create a legal marijuana economy. Read more on marijuana.


Photo: eggrole, Flickr

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