America’s Boom in Illegal Weed

It seems former Attorney ­General Jeff Sessions was correct about one thing: Pot legalization has provided cover for criminals, ­allowing illicit production to thrive. Experts estimate that at least 30 percent of cannabis ­cultivated in legal states is being “diverted” to illicit ­markets across the country. The biggest problem has been the lure of higher wholesale prices in places where weed is still illegal, which often discourages growers and traffickers in legal states from going legit. Many of the growers that have been skirting the law for years could ­barely afford the costs of becoming legal even if they wanted to.

“The reality is I’ve been advocating for ­decades for exactly what’s happening right now,” says Guy Rocourt, chief products officer at California cannabis brand Papa ­Barkley, best known for its topical salves. “But is it painful? Absolutely. We are trying to support small

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