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The Great Australian ‘Dry Spell’
If you’ve been paying any attention to the Australian black cannabis marketplace in the past few months (…niche, I know – but that’s what we do, here…), you’ll know that there’s been a seismic shift in the power dynamics that define the behaviours of growers, traffickers, suppliers and consumers.
Right now, we find ourselves smack-bam in the middle of a ‘dealer’s market’. Accessibility to large quantities of good quality weed has become an increasingly rare and risk-associated prospect. The many tons of stock that sat in domestic supply had been completely torn through, during the first throes of the global pandemic.
There isn’t much to do during lockdown… other than stay at home and smoke weed; as such, demand has risen dramatically, while overall ‘bud supply’ has collapsed.
Skewed Black Market Dynamics
In response, prices in illicit markets have risen across the board, over the past 3 months.
It is for good reason. Dealers are very much taking on additional risk, these days. Weed is much harder to come by; meaning that people are now willing to pay premium for what they usually expect from cannabis.
Folks are desperate to find good bud. Others are equally desperate to deceive, mislead and sell sub-par product at exorbitant prices, in a competitive market that favours them. This situation, in the middle of a pandemic, is causing a lot of unacknowledged ‘social unrest’.
It’s time to break down this whole situation, so we can later tell our offspring of how all the cannabis seemingly disappeared from our part of the earth… for a time.
This story will be one for the ages. Your children may ask you… what did you do, in the middle of quarantine, when the bud ran dry?
WHY IS IT SO F*CKING DRY?!
There are a multiplicity of factors…
Everyone is Stuck Inside, Smoking Bongs…
This is perhaps the most obvious contributing factor to our existing woes; less people are leaving their homes to turn up to work, each day… either because they are now unemployed, or because they are working from home.
COVID-19 Closures have led to lots of leisurely time for many Australians. This has almost certainly contributed to an increase in the raw volume of cannabis being smoked.
Usually, there would be those folks out there on the illicit market who maintain vast quantities of cannabis in storage. Unfortunately… we managed to smoke through all of that cannabis before the second wave hit. Nice going, everyone…
Escalated Police Powers
Police possess more power and resources to track down drug offenders, in almost all instances… except for drug testing, which has taken a ‘backseat’ in some areas, during the midst of COVID-19.
Black markets have responded swiftly to their supply lines being infiltrated, with increased prices on the consumer-end… which sucks, for the people who rely on the black market for their cannabis needs.
Increased Intensity of ‘Drug Raids’
State authorities continue to escalate ‘The War on Drugs’ like never before. Hundreds of arrests for non-violent drug offences occurred, just this year; while pro-prohibition ‘tough on crime’ rhetoric is still being proudly championed by both major parties.
Cops are more confident, right now… and they’re crawling throughout the capital cities; curfews and restrictions have provided police with additional powers to search and seize.
Cannabis operations throughout the country are getting ‘busted’ more frequently, as police gradually ramp up their enforcement efforts. ‘Strike Force Leafed Out’ was established by New South Wales Police in May of this year, as a means of tackling ‘newer ways of selling drugs’ (edibles, clear-net markets, etc.).
COVID-19 Border Closures
This is another major contributing factor.
Not many people are willing to risk crossing the border and getting caught… which is bad news for the black market.
Cross-border trafficking has become increasingly difficult during COVID lockdown, as state borders have gained closures and police patrols. The ones who are still crossing the border sell their bud at much higher prices to recoup for the incredible risk associated with the crossing.
‘The Black Summer’ – 2019/20 Australian Bushfires
Remember back in summer, when we experienced one of the worst ecological catastrophes in Australian history?
The Australian Bushfires of 2019/20 were a tale of deep mismanagement of the land, spanning decades… coupled with an incompetent neoliberal leadership of corporate stooges, topped off with a continent facing accelerating climactic changes. The same chain of events that lit the whole country alight, and devastated so many communities… also led to significant losses for outdoor growers.
Safe to say, the capacity for Aussies to produce bulk yields into this year was damaged from the outset.
The Worst Hit Regions
Friendly Aussie Buds are curious as to where people are being most affected; whether this ‘dry spell’ is reaching across the entire continent, or whether this extreme scarcity is only localised within certain regions and/or friend circles, across the country.
What effect has the ‘Great Aussie Dry Spell’ of 2020 had on your town or city?
Have you experienced dramatically rising prices and/or a drop in availability of quality bud? Let us know in the comments; we’ll add your feedback to our article.
Perhaps one of the worst hit major metropolitan regions in Australia… BrisVegas is notably dry, when it comes to cannabis.
This may seem counter-intuitive… isn’t Queensland one of the places in Australia experiencing less lockdown measures than others?
You would be right, apart from the hard border closure… and all the recent busts from the Queensland Police Service, plus the fact that supplies were already low from the bushfires. Prices of cannabis in BNE were already steadily rising throughout 2020… and then, the borders were shut.
It’s important to remember that prior to the Coronavirus, most of Brisbane’s green was grown in Northern New South Wales; traveling across the border and onto the M1. When the borders closed, that mass transfer from the cannabis-rich region halted overnight.
Within a week, cannabis had ‘run out’, all across town… and it hasn’t been the same since. Prices for a mid-tier quarter ounce in brissy have gone through the roof. They can run as high as $150, right now – you will struggle to find anything decent below $110. Unless you’re well connected, you may struggle to find anything decent, in general. It’s gotten so bad… to the point where medicinal cannabis options are beginning to look cheap and easy, in contrast to the sub-par bud being sold on the black market!
Brisbane is having a much harder time than their southern neighbour, The Gold Coast. They are decidedly not inside of the 50km ‘border bubble’, and can’t just meet in the Twin Towns parking lot, whenever they want… unfortunately.
Additionally, the primary routes to Brisbane, from the Gold Coast (particularly the M1), are currently heavily patrolled – making the transfer from one city to another a challenging one.
Sydney, New South Wales
It’s a similar story in Sydney; albeit, less grim than in Brisbane.
At this point, lines from Victoria and South Australia have been cut entirely… leaving the whole state dependent on the buds they themselves produce. Meanwhile, the NSW Police have been very busy busting cannabis traders inside of the state.
Prices have risen significantly, and quality has slumped… although, you can definitely still find some good bud… if you search from end to end of the city.
Excellent buds are still propagating around Melbourne… it’s just getting your hands on them, that can prove a challenge.
Restrictions, curfews, minimum numbers of visits and the sheer presence of police in the capital have made for dangerous missions for the ‘good stuff’. Getting on before 8pm is basically a must; but the plugs aren’t always around to serve everyone, before then.
With all this said, quality is still variable, at the moment. Moreover, prices have risen, in some circles – some people are asking for more than usual. Be aware and take care!
Perth, Western Australia
From all accounts, Perth is expensive, and dry as a bone.
It’s a shame. However, it could be worse; quality has managed to steadily increase within the capital city, over the past few months.
If we had to guess, this is because border closures have led WA home-growers to ‘take over’ the market share that was once dominated by bikie gangs selling PGR from the eastern states, such as South Australia and Victoria.
Newcastle and Central Coast, New South Wales
Prices in the regional centres that surround Sydney are usually significantly higher than in the capital itself… unfortunately, that doesn’t mean that they’ve caught a break, more recently. It’s very dry on the northern coastline… until you get to Port Macquarie.
Australian Capital Territory
It’s reasonable to think that the legalisation of personal use in Canberra would have ‘softened the blow’ of any ‘dry spell’ that other regions have experienced.
It’s true that there is plenty of good bud in the capital territory. However… this isn’t exactly translating to reduced prices, on the street.
As a matter of fact, prices have only gone up. Much like in other places, COVID-19 travel bans makes it harder for good weed from elsewhere to show up in town.
Regional New South Wales
A similar story to the rest of East Australia.
Prices have increased from $350 to $450-$500, and quality has decreased markedly. It’s a massive mission to find decent stuff in small towns all across the state, thanks to the disruption of regular supply routes that cut through these towns.
Across the Mallee, Goldfields and Gippsland, the situation is eerily alike.
The towns outside of Melbourne were used to receiving cheap bumper crops from across the line, before COVID-19 hit.
These days, anyone who’s making the pilgrimage with weight seems to charge an arm and a leg for it – and the only other stuff is the (usually sub-par) hydro, grown in local setups.
Northern New South Wales
This region stands as an unrivalled mecca for growing cannabis in Australia.
Nimbin, Brunswick, Mullum and surrounds are still enjoying a surplus of the ‘good stuff’… and that’s in spite of increasingly rapid raids on the part of NSW Police, this year.
Everything about this place is perfect for cannabis; which is a shame for everyone in Queensland, for as long as the border is closed. The villages and towns that populate the foothills of the northern rivers all possess convenient climates for growing; not to mention a laid-back regional culture with all the benefits of seclusion, and a truly communal spirit of looking out for one’s neighbour.
Maybe these folks just have it all figured out…
Gold Coast, Queensland
Not even a month ago, the entire Gold Coast was reeling from the introduction of hard border closures.
Now, however? They’re a lot better off, with access to Northern New South Wales cannabis gradually returning to the area.
As we’ve already pointed out, a ’50km bubble’ was introduced for Tweed Heads and the Gold Coast, soon after the border measures were established. This move was made to facilitate more efficient travel for residents who live around the border… yet, this also facilitated more efficient illicit transactions of cannabis. Since then, buds have been leaking from one side of the border to the other – as such, residents of the Gold Coast have remained ‘chopped’, unlike their more ‘northern’ counterparts.
Adelaide, South Australia
Adelaide is just one of those places in Australia where cannabis is grown in abundance. This has not only been consistently true, historically; it has also proven correct throughout 2020.
Prices haven’t necessarily risen as much as in other regions – quality has also remained pretty stable, despite police cracking down on several operations, recently.
You can probably attribute this stability in quality to the usually high levels of SA cannabis imported to other states, which now has nowhere to go. The border closures have led to less SA weed circulating around the country, and more of it staying inside of the state.
One of the biggest losses from the arrival of the Novel Coronavirus has been the annual protest event ‘Afternoon on the Green’. The organisers have taken a step back and cancelled the event, this year… but we do home they come back for 2021, once this is all hopefully over and done with!
Are you from North or Regional Queensland, the Northern Territory, Tasmania, Alice Springs, or some other far-out spot?
Help us give our audience some insight into what ‘the scene’ is like near you – leave a comment below!
People Are Paying Higher Premiums For Dank Weed
All across this nation, it is becoming increasingly common for people to be spending an additional $200 per ounce, just to ensure they’re not smoking some garbage PGR weed.
What would have been unthinkable 6 months ago is now an everyday reality, as consumers learn to adjust to new conditions.
We may not quite be out of the woods, when it comes to paying more for the goods… at least, not just yet. Who knows, after all? Things could well get worse, with the current ‘dry spell’ potentially continuing well into 2021. If you think you’ve seen an inflation in prices, now… just wait!
‘Dry Spell’ A Boon For Violent Gangs
Ironically, in the face of additional police presence, it is the criminal gangs across Australia that are centralising their power in the marketplace. This is less true of the humble, low-level competitors, in most places.
Desperate times present new opportunities for hardened criminals; it’s their time to ‘get active’ and commit violence.
Perhaps the worst part is that in many cases, the illegality of cannabis will prevent real victims – who just wanted to ‘get on’ – from seeking any kind of justice from violent and illegal action, in these tough times.
Medicinal Cannabis is Suddenly Competitive With ‘The Street’
It’s an Australian pastime to complain about the exorbitant pricing and lack of accessibility within the existing medicinal cannabis scheme, as operated by the TGA… yet, as black market prices creep up, the legal offerings are becoming much more attractive to plenty of people.
Watch out, ‘Old Mate’. ‘Big Pharma” is coming for your head, with cannabis heads that go toe-to-toe with the very best black market bud you’ve ever had… if not, better!
Medical cannabis prescriptions are at an all time high, according to the TGA; projected numbers show that up to 50 000 prescriptions could be written for the year of 2020 alone. If you’ve been interested in getting a prescription, the current ‘Dry Spell’ may be a great opportunity to commit to just that!
The Rise of Homegrown Initiatives
Indoor growing tents, hydroponics equipment and other important tools for cannabis cultivation are mostly sold out; they have been flying off the online shelves, during the COVID-19 Pandemic.
So… it turns out that there are plenty of people with good common sense, after all!
The ‘2020 Dry Spell’ was the straw that broke the camel’s back, for many hundreds of Aussies. Rising prices and increasingly risky deals have led ever more people to cut out their ‘middlemen’ and grow their own – finally.
Hopefully, this means that we’ll begin to see buds of a much higher quality coming through, from low-level artisans and enthusiast cannabis producers. This trend of ‘better quality buds’ should ramp up throughout 2021, as more ‘locals’ begin to learn the ins and outs of growing dank cannabis for market.