RICHMOND, Va. — As Virginia beats a historic path toward marijuana legalization, there have been mixed reactions and mounting concern among the commonwealth’s pot dealers that such legislation would force thousands of them into the workforce in search of legitimate employment.
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“I mean, what the fuck,” Midlothian weed guy Brad Christensen said. “These fucking assholes are effectively destabilizing an entire cottage industry that supports our economy in ways they can’t even enumerate—largely because we’ve been forced to live our lives in secrecy. And now they want to force us out of the shadows and into the job force during a recession so they can take over our market and tax our product? Fuck that noise!”
While full legalization has yet to be passed by the Virginia General Assembly, they successfully approved a decriminalization bill that Governor Northam signed into law in April. The new law, which took effect on July 1, reduces simple possession of an ounce or less to a civil penalty of $25 with no jail time and no criminal record.
Other pot dealers claim that the new last constitutes a “sweet spot” for the industry. “By decriminalizing possession without fully legalizing and regulating marijuana, consumers will still depend largely on illicit distribution channels for traditional, non oil-based cannabis products,” Allison Monroe of Goochland County claimed. “And without the fear of arrest and possible confinement for simple possession, it’s gonna be shitting money right on top of me.”
Industry experts anticipate that, should full legalization take effect in the future, the most likely job sectors for former pot dealers based on their transferable skills will be food service/retail, finance, agriculture, law, law enforcement, public policy, education, and jewelry-making.