Marijuana dispensaries in Colorado are finding it impossible to keep up with the demands of recreational users.
The first five days of days of legalized sales of marijuana have been big business for dispensary owners — so much so that some shops even closed early last Wednesday, the first day on which such sales were legal.
Supply simply can’t keep up with demand.
“We are going to run out,” Toni Fox, owner of the 3D Cannabis Center, told the Colorado Springs Gazette. “It’s insane. This weekend will be just as crazy. If there is a mad rush, we’ll be out by Monday.”
The stringent regulations on who can grow marijuana and how it can be distributed mean that these shortages will not merely be a short-term problem. The fears of medical marijuana advocates, who have long been concerned that such shortages would cause the price of pot to skyrocket, seem to have been vindicated, with some shops charging upwards of $500 per ounce.
In early December, Denver City Council members worried that supply would not be able to keep up with demand. At the time, city officials were more concerned with security, as marijuana can only be purchased with cash, and they anticipated long lines of people waiting outside dispensaries on January 1.
Now they are simply concerned about what will happen when crowds arrive to purchase legal marijuana only to find that their local dispensary has sold out. This could lead many consumers back to the black market.
As one street dealer told The Pueblo Chieftain, “[w]hen the novelty wears off, people will be tired of having to go to the stores and paying much higher prices for the same weed. Street dealers will charge less, and we deliver.”
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