Medical marijuana from Colorado has been confiscated in a few Midwestern states, according to a report from the Rocky Mountain High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area, a taskforce composed of state, local, and federal law enforcement groups. The RMHIDTA spent two years (roughly the amount of time that's passed since Colorado's medical marijuana laws went into effect) gathering data and found all of…70 instances of illegal pot sales.
The Denver Post reports:
The review found more than 70 instances of the diversion of medical marijuana to criminal drug operations. In the report, the Drug Enforcement Administration suggested Colorado is on track to become a primary source of supply for high-grade marijuana throughout the country.
Colorado patients, caregivers and dispensaries all have diverted medical marijuana to illegal use in 23 states, according to the review.
"We felt it was probably being diverted, but didn't expect it to be this pronounced, especially with such a small-scale study," said Rocky Mountain HIDTA director Tom Gorman. "This is just the tip of the iceberg."
But Brian Vicente, executive director of Sensible Colorado, said Colorado has the most complex and strict medical marijuana laws in the country. If medical pot is being sold illegally, he said, officials need to crack down on offenders.
"It's just disingenuous to say that marijuana didn't exist in other states and that all of a sudden it does because of medical marijuana laws in Colorado," Vicente said.
A Kansas cop pulled over a driver bound for Virginia with 10 pounds of medicinal pot he bought in Colorado, and people in Illinois are having the stuff shipped to them. These details are probably shocking if you were raised inside a cardboard box at DEA headquarters, or work for a local media outlet (but then, every detail has to be shocking when Craigslist and Youtube are eating your lunch).
One lawman told the Post that "instead of focusing on complex international drug cartels bringing cocaine into Colorado, the task force is dealing with numerous illegal marijuana cases." Well shit, guys. No one is making you crack down on reefer instead of transnational criminal organizations!
Vincente's point–that you could find pot in every hamlet, parish, subdivision, and commonwealth in America long before Colorado passed its medical marijuana laws–cannot be over-emphasized. Drugs are everywhere! All the time! Always have been! If anything, the DEA's report suggests that East Coast heds can smoke with a clean conscious: Their giggle weed was grown peacefully right here in America, and not by some Sinaloan wretch (though before you mount your high horse, remember that said wretch has a family to feed).
Of course legalizing pot in Colorado is going to lead to trafficking to states where pot is not legal. This happens with prescription pills, and with more politically acceptable substances. People in D.C. buy their cigarettes in Virginia. Manhattanites order their cigarettes from Native Americans. Residents of dry counties drive to wet counties. Where are the scare stories about intra-and inter-state trafficking of Marlboro Light 100s and box wine? (Please, newspaper man, do not write that story.)