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Although marijuana is now legally available for purchase in Colorado, the black market for it is thriving. The reason is high prices. Legal sales of marijuana are taxed at nearly 30% which has pushed up the price of illegally sold product. "Camouflaged amid the legal medicinal and recreational marijuana market, the ever-adaptable underground market thrives. Some in law enforcement and on the street say it may be as strong as it’s ever been, so great is the unmet local and visitor demand." Regulatory schemes cannot be said to discourage illegal activity: a medical marijuana registry card allows individuals to legally grow 16 plants and provides a good cover for any suspicious activity. 

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Sellers on the black market say the only ones paying the high dispensary prices are middle-class whites. Indeed a social division along racial lines has been deepened by Colorado's marijuana experiment. "The resentment goes something like: We Latinos and African Americans from the ‘hood were stigmatized for marijuana use, disdained and disproportionately prosecuted in the war on drugs. ... We sold it for profit and pleasure." So now who benefits from legalized pot? Rich people with money to invest and high credit scores; Blacks and Latinos again find themselves on the outskirts of opportunity.

Read more at the New York Times

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