Black Market Demand Could Be Increasing in Denver

The demand for black market marijuana in Denver could be on the rise, based on an informal experiment conducted by a local journalist.

Josiah Hesse, a reporter for the Denver-based alt-weekly The Westword, conducted an informal test on the availability of black market marijuana in Denver’s Civic Center Park, which has been a traditional site for the illegal drug trade. Hesse purchased marijuana from dealers there before and after the state rolled out its recreational marijuana program on January 1.

Hesse said that significantly more people were both selling and purchasing marijuana in the park after January 1. He said he actually had to wait in line to purchase from a dealer, but said the uptick in business could be due to Colorado’s recent warm weather.

The price remained constant before and after January 1 – $5 for a gram of marijuana. But Hesse said that after January 1, his “gram” contained significantly less marijuana than before January 1. The dealer, Hesse said, was cutting smaller amounts of the plant into the traditional quantities. He also said the quality of the marijuana was on-par with the lowest quality of marijuana flowers sold at area medical dispensaries.

Grams of marijuana are currently being sold for between $13.50 and $17.00 (pretax) at Denver’s recreational marijuana retail stores.