Tuesday, August 1, 2017
I have been on the road the last few weeks with limited internet and limited blogging time, and thus I have been barely able to keep up with all the summer state marijuana reform news of late. Here are links to some news headlines/stories that provide just a sample of some notable late dog-days of summer state stories:
From Massachusetts here, "Massachusetts' Marijuana Law Passed by Voters, Rewritten by Lawmakers"
From Michigan here, "Marijuana is 9% of all Michigan arrests, and other facts on marijuana arrests"
From Nevada here, "Tourists Buying Marijuana In Las Vegas Have Nowhere To Smoke It In Las Vegas"
From Utah here, "Over 75 percent of Utahns support medical marijuana ballot initiative, a new poll says"
From Washington here, "Washington Marijuana Legalization: No Stoned Mayhem on the Freeways"
And, this important story covering lots of states comes from USA Today under the headline "Marijuana's legalization fuels black market in other states." It starts this way:
Marijuana smugglers are growing and shipping vast quantities of illicit cannabis across the USA. They’re mailing it, driving it and, in at least one case, flying it around in skydiving planes. They’re hiding it in truck beds and trunks and vacuum-sealing it to hide the smell as they pass police officers patrolling the interstates.
Many are starting in states where growing marijuana is legal, such as Colorado, and sending the drug elsewhere. In June, Colorado prosecutors said they busted a 74-person operation producing 100 pounds of marijuana per month — enough to generate $200,000 monthly, tax free, for more than four years.
Police seized two tons of cannabis from dozens of homes and warehouses in the Denver metro area. Tangled up in the scheme were fathers and sons and several former professional football players. “Those of us in law enforcement kept saying, '(Legalization) will not stop crime. You’re just making it easier for people who want to make money. What we’ve done is give them cover,' ” Colorado Attorney General Cynthia Coffman said.
For decades, the black market was the only source of recreational marijuana in America. But in 2012, Colorado voters approved a ballot initiative to legalize the drug. Seven states followed in 2014 and 2016. Now, nearly 65 million Americans live in states where adults can legally consume marijuana for any reason.
Legalization advocates have long argued that regulating marijuana forces the industry out of the shadows and into the public eye, where the drug can be taxed and the black market effectively eliminated. But because marijuana remains illegal in so many states, smugglers can take advantage of the patchwork of laws. A pound of marijuana might sell for about $2,000 in Colorado but could fetch three times as much in a large East Coast city. Less marijuana is crossing the U.S. border, according to the U.S. Border Patrol. The agency's marijuana seizures dropped by almost half between 2011 and 2016, falling from 2.5 million pounds to 1.3 million pounds.