The weed legalization movement continues to face some pressing questions. One of them is how legalization affects other states that have not made weed legal. A review of recent activity highlights one possible effect. In particular, weed busts across the US point to smuggling from legal states.
A Common Anti-Weed Argument
It’s not unusual for anti-weed lawmakers and pundits to claim that legalization in one place creates an influx of illegal weed in other places. In fact, this is exactly what Nebraska and Oklahoma said was happening in a lawsuit they filed back in 2015.
In that suit, the states said that Colorado’s legal weed was spilling over into neighboring states. They claimed that people were growing weed legally in Colorado and then smuggling it illegally into Nebraska and Oklahoma.
The suit became an important legal decision. In particular, it forced the federal government to take a stance on the controversy.
Under President Obama, the federal government sided with Colorado. Solicitor General Donald Verrilli, Jr. said that if the federal government or the Supreme Court sided with Nebraska and Oklahoma, it would be an overreach of federal authority.
Then, in early 2016, the U.S. Supreme Court rejected Nebraska’s and Oklahoma’s lawsuit.
Despite all this, there have actually been a number of big smuggling busts recently. And each of them involved the type of operation described by Nebraska and Oklahoma in their original lawsuit.
Weed Busts Across US Point To Smuggling From Legal States
For example, on June 28, Colorado officials busted a huge weed-smuggling ring. In the end, 62 people and 12 businesses were all indicted in the case.
According to sources, the smuggling ring was operating under the guise of growing legal weed for Colorado consumers. But then, they would ship more than 100 pounds of it to nearby states.
In particular, they were smuggling weed into Kansas, Texas, Nebraska, Ohio, and Oklahoma. All told, the operation was raking in around $200,000 a month.
After authorities busted the smuggling operation, Nebraska’s Attorney General thanked Colorado officials for exposing how much weed was coming into the state.
Similar cases have happened in other parts of the country where a weed-legal state shares borders with non-weed-legal states.
Similarly, authorities recently busted a man who was flying weed grown in Oregon to Texas. When they arrested him, they found 15 duffel bags full of weed.
Final Hit: Weed Busts Across US Point To Smuggling From Legal States
These cases show that there is some validity to the fear that states next to weed-legal states could see an influx of cannabis. But this doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a reason to keep weed illegal.
In fact, if cannabis became legal at the federal level, there would be regulated growers and retail stores all over the place.
There would be less reason for people to grow, smuggle, and sell illegal weed. Simply put, if cannabis were federally legalized, it would significantly undermine the black market as a whole.