Black market website spruiks local cannabis prices

THE average pot smoker in the Coffs-Clarence region spends $250 for an ounce of medium-quality marijuana or about $9 a gram when buying in bulk.

For what is ostensibly a wild-growing weed, that is some serious money weighing down the pockets of drug dealers.

The Coffs-Clarence figure comes from a website allowing users to submit their pot prices, which are then averaged out and published so crimson-eyed travellers know what they can expect.

Submissions have been tendered from towns all over the country.

Australian Federal Police said they were powerless to shut down the website.

"These sites aren't illegal. They're no different to (online black market) Silk Road in that accessing them doesn't break the law," a spokesman said.

"The Australian Crime Commission actually publishes current street prices in the Illicit Drug Data Report every year.

"If someone does believe websites like this are breaking Australian law, they can ring the Australian Communications and Media Authority."

With prices so high, it begs the question: would Australia be better off legalising recreational marijuana use, regulating the industry and taking the money out of drug dealers' hands?

Such a potential honey pot has not escaped our federal politicians' gaze.

In December, the Parliamentary Budget Office released an estimate of how much the government could raise if it applied a 10% GST to marijuana products and stopped spending money on law enforcement.

The PBO found the government would make $650 million in the 2018-19 fiscal year if legalisation was introduced in July 2017.

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