Before there were legalized medical marijuana programs and adult use, recreational cannabis legalization in some states, all activities regarding marijuana occurred in an illicit market. This includes anyone who was growing cannabis, selling, buying, extracting, or transporting any type of marijuana, all activities took place in the illicit market.
Even in states where medical and recreational marijuana is legal, the illicit market still exists. Some reasons for this include communities that may have banned cannabis businesses from operating in their municipality even in states with legalization, therefore, people in these counties will turn to the illicit market to purchase and use marijuana. Medical patients that live in rural communities, miles away from the closest dispensary, also may turn to the illicit market for convenience.
Depending on the state you live in, the tax on cannabis varies, and legal recreational weed might be unaffordable for some as opposed to their longtime illicit supplier. One reason for an increase in cost at dispensaries is that all marijuana should have gone through a testing process to verify the safety of the product as well as reliable information on strain and potency.
The irony of communities that have banned legalized marijuana, thinking it will bring crime are actually supporting the illicit market to continue with regular illegal sales of a potentially dangerous product that has not been tested. Another benefit to communities of legalization is centered on correcting a significant racial injustice, as the war on marijuana negatively impacts blacks more than whites. Arrests against blacks for cannabis possession are carried out with staggering racial bias and are disproportionate to whites.