Black market drug dealers could be sabotaging the cannabis industry.
Earlier this week, Colorado Attorney General Cynthia Coffman told Fox 31 Denver that a number of law enforcement agencies spanning multiple states are responsible for what has been deemed “the largest illegal marijuana trafficking ring bust in [Colorado] history.”
The investigation, conducted under the ridiculous moniker “Operation Toker Poker” is said to have resulted in the arrest of more than 60 people and the takedown of 12 businesses. The report indicates that all of those implicated in the operation resided in Colorado and four other states. However, there is no indication whether the businesses shut down during the raids were directly associated with the legal marijuana trade.
Although marijuana legalization has had plenty of success in Colorado, as the state continues to collect millions of dollars in tax revenue without enduring some of the criminal problems that lawmakers predicted would come with the passing of Amendment 64, the state has struggled to put a leash on the underground market that has continued to operate in the shadows.
Just last month, Colorado law enforcement, along with the DEA, busted yet another illegal marijuana trafficking operation. According to the Denver Post, the operation involved the legal cultivation of marijuana in various places all across the state before the crop was shipped out for sale in states, like Illinois and Missouri, where pot prohibition is still the law of the land.
“In a nutshell, this was about home-grown, local folks growing and exporting marijuana (for sale) out of the state of Colorado,” 18th Judicial District Attorney George Brauchler said last month. “This operation that was shut down effectively by the indictments and warrants that were issued was generating about 300-plus pounds of finished marijuana each month. These packages that they put together were tracked here, there and everywhere.”
However, the latest raid, which, according to AG Coffman, shows that illegal marijuana trafficking operations have continued to get stronger amidst the state’s legal climate, is likely making some unwanted noise in the halls of the U.S. Department of Justice.
That’s because Colorado’s black market shenanigans are exactly what Attorney General Jeff Sessions is looking for to support his desire for federal crackdown. After all, we already know that he has a violent crime task force conducting a review of federal marijuana policies, which has led to speculation over the kinds of changes that could be on the horizon for the “experiment” that is statewide legalization.
It is distinctly possible that this review, which is supposed to be in the hands of Sessions at the end of next month, could lead to a reversal an Obama-era policy that has allowed states to legalize marijuana without catching heat from the federal government. Yet, if Sessions can squeeze in an argument about cracking down on the cartel activity taking place as a result of legalization, the whole scene could come crumbling down indefinitely.