Cali's Unregulated Cannabis Market Braces for Drought 2.0

For the first half of 2019, despite the crippled status of its regulated cannabis market, California’s street market for cannabis underwent what many called – for lack of a better term – a “drought” or shortage of bulk amounts of bud whose quality matched its asking price.

The reasons for this “disruption in supply” earlier in the year are many, but most of them boil down to one basic concept: it may be more dangerous than ever to be an unlicensed cannabis grower in Cali

When risk is high, reward needs to keep pace and so prices go up on product whose quality remains the same or even degrades as clandestine farmers begin to cut corners to get to harvest.

This initial drought hit the lower end of the street market the hardest. Once light dep weed sold out, the price of midsy outdoor shot up. With a distinct lack of cheap material on the market (trim, larf, smalls, boof, etc.) black market extractors felt the squeeze and the seemingly never-ending tap of crude and distillate dried up around April.

This summer already looked like it would be rough on the trap stars and backpack hustlers but it only got worse as enforcement efforts ordered from the governor himself continued to raze unpermitted grows and dispensaries up and down the state. It is easy to read an article about hundreds or thousands of pounds of weed being seized and just think “Damn, that’s a lot”… but DAMN, THAT’S A LOT.

A lot of plugs getting pulled and a lot of custy’s texts sitting on READ with no reply.

As both the regulated and unregulated cannabis markets limped into fall, all eyes have been on Croptober with hopes that a robust outdoor harvest season might bail out both sides.

That might be the case with Cali’s legal market, as reports are coming in that the tables have turned when it comes to price negotiation and finally the farmers are taking back some initiative and getting what they deserve.

But on the unregulated side, new cannabis laws have created new cannabis outlaws and it feels like déjà vu all over again as outdoor cultivation becomes far too risky of a proposition. The fact is, most of the highest quality outdoor cannabis grown in California this year will get trapped in the state’s seed to sale track and trace system and the streets will never see it.

So while there may seem to be a bit of a bump in the right direction over the next few months, any decent unpermitted greenhouse, light dep, and outdoor cannabis will be sold out by spring, and all of those black market players will be back in the same place they were this year – Drought 2.0

Don’t get it twisted, there should always be a steady supply of tip-top shelf cannabis flowers and extracts available on the streets. In fact, for years to come that is likely where you’ll find the best of both. Indoor grows can remain undetected and their smaller scale allows for better quality control all the way through harvest, which can happen 3-4 times every year to boost inventory.

If you have made any decent relationships in the cannabis scene over the past several years, and if your preference is to only smoke the finest cannabis around, the next shortage of affordable weed might not affect you too much, but it’s absolutely going to wreak havoc on the embattled street market once again.


Times like these tend to bring out people’s true character – what we like to call “Snake Season”. Desperate times, desperate measures, and dumbass dealers are on their way and it will be up to you to chop off their heads before they can sink their fangs in.

Some insiders are warning that the Scam du Jour is going to be padding packs with decent looking but THC-devoid hemp flowers or even trying to pass them off directly as cannabis. If you fall for that you might want to just quit smoking weed altogether.

That’s easy enough to say when staring at actual buds, but how can you tell if that smokin’ deal on two liters of pure gold distillate is legit when you’re trying to buy it out of the back of a Honda Civic?

Shits about to get even more wild out west. Buckle up, fuckers!

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