With legalization sweeping the nation and year-over-year ballot initiatives boosting the movement, people in illegal states are waiting for their chance at the next green rush. Change takes time, however, and impatient consumers in areas where cannabis remains illegal or highly restricted may be wondering, “How can I get my hands on a gram?” without having to wait for the legal green light.

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Unfortunately, the short answer is that you shouldn’t. Though you know (and we know) that cannabis isn’t the evil substance pushed in the bygone D.A.R.E. era, obtaining it illegally has consequences you might not like—even if you don’t get caught. Below, find out why patience isn’t just a virtue, it will also benefit you and the cannabis movement in a variety of ways.

Leave the Black Market Behind

Obvious legality issues aside, buying cannabis from the black market does not ensure a clean and reliable product. Legal states have the luxury of testing everything from potency to pesticides to mold. Unfortunately, that’s not true for states where cannabis is outlawed, and if a consumer is immunocompromised in any way, a contaminated dime bag can create a litany of health problems or exacerbate an already growing health issue.

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Purchasing cannabis off the black market can also lead to the indirect support of drug cartels. Though the purchase of black market cannabis in legal states has plummeted, cartels still produce cannabis to sell within illegal borders. The presence of cartel-moved cannabis increases crime rates, while legalized states have shown a near 40% drop in drug-related violent crimes in border towns. Worth the wait? We think so.

While You Wait, Advocate

Write or call your state government officials, senators, and representatives about cannabis legalization. State your case and be vocal, be present, and be ready for a little pushback. Legalization is ramping up, but that doesn’t mean entire generations are going to completely abandon everything they were taught in the Reefer Madness and D.A.R.E eras at the drop of a hat.

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We know it’s frustrating, but progress takes time. Full legalization across the nation could await us in the near future. Until then, check out your local laws regarding cannabis and ask questions—demand better from your local, state, and federal governments regarding legalization and the benefits of cannabis.

Lead image: Dmitry_Tishchenko/iStock