Marijuana is legal in the great state of Washington. To find out how this new law will impact the pot industry in British Columbia, I spoke with a person whose livelihood is dependent on the drug trade — namely, a drug dealer. The drug dealer will remain anonymous for reasons too obvious to enumerate.
Samuel Kirz: Some speculate that the marijuana business contributes approximately $6 billion to the economy of British Columbia annually, and that B.C. produces 40% of all marijuana consumed in Canada. Are these numbers accurate?
Drug Dealer: I don’t think that there’s a person in the government, or on my side of things, who could accurately estimate the amount of money pot generates. Forty percent of domestic production? Maybe. Nobody knows. I do know that the second largest hydroponic weed-producing province is Ontario, and it’s not even close to the scale that we have here.
How much marijuana crosses the border from B.C. into Washington each year?
Well, the vast majority of pot that goes into Washington doesn’t stay in Washington. We jump it across the border and take it to a warehouse and sell it. Then, the U.S. purchaser moves the dope to wherever he can get the most money for it. A lot goes to the East Coast. People in Washington smoke weed that’s grown in Northern California. Incidentally, more B.C. bud ends up in California than Washington. Cali is such a huge market that the growers down there can’t keep up with the demand. Remember: they have medical weed dispensaries in California and it’s not hard to get a prescription.
How will Washington’s new law impact your marijuana export business?
Washington might become a larger shipment point because the new laws will allow for the legal possession and transport of some amount of pot. The law will also educate the consumer and make the market more discerning. The pot smoker in Washington will be able to choose the highest quality product. He’ll know what he’s buying. That might result in more B.C. bud staying in the state instead of passing through. I don’t know. But the law’s impact on the overall export market will be negligible. Our weed gets shipped wherever the B.C. bud brand carries the most cache because that’s where we get the highest dollar for it. These days, that means the East Coast of the United States.
An Angus Reid Public Opinion poll found that 75 % of British Columbians are in favour of regulating and taxing marijuana. Do you favour marijuana legalization?
Absolutely. My coworkers would be the first people applying for licenses and permits because we already have all the infrastructure in place. If it were legal and a civilian wanted to enter the weed business, he’d have a ton of overhead that we don’t have. He’s got to buy land, build a greenhouse, light it up and then he’s got to figure out how to harvest a good crop. Our growers already know what kind of fertilized food works best, how to simulate sunlight cycles to maximize their yield and what strains are popular with consumers. We already have an intimate understanding of the product and its relationship to the market. Legalizing weed would be a huge advantage for us.
Legalization would change other parts of the business, too. Right now, transportation accounts for about 30% of your cost. The person who drives 300 pounds of weed across the country makes a pretty fair chunk of change for his trouble. If we could ship the product with FedEx, our margins would explode. Same with the money. You can’t exactly put a million bucks on a plane, so you’ve got to use what we call a wire. These are people with cash businesses who are willing to exchange the money they have here for your money somewhere else. They don’t do that shit for free. Another benefit is that the violence would decrease. The people who work for Budweiser don’t shoot the people who work for Coors.
To make our readers jealous, approximately how much money do you make in a month from the sale of marijuana?
Each month? In the neighborhood of $25,000. Marijuana isn’t a big part of my income though.
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Samuel Kirz received an MA in Creative Writing from City University London. He writes nonfiction on the topics of sport, culture and Canada; his fiction is about sex. To contact Sam, send mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.