Weed goes by lots of other names, one being “broccoli.” Fittingly, Customs and Border Protection agents stationed along the US-Mexico border intercepted a tractor trailer on Saturday that was allegedly smuggling well over a ton of weed hidden in broccoli containers. 

The bust took place at the Pharr International Bridge cargo facility in Pharr, Texas. Authorities said in a press release that they discovered 3,159 pounds of marijuana on the trailer with an estimated street value of $632,000.

“This is a substantial amount of narcotics that will not make it into our communities,” Port Director Carlos Rodriguez, who oversees the Pharr facility, said in the press release. 

Notably, that cops still describe cannabis as a “narcotic” indicates prohibition is still alive and kicking. The definition for “narcotic” varies wildly depending on the source, though the word is typically reserved for synthetic opioid painkillers like Oxycontin and fentanyl, as well as other harder substances. And, as we know, opioids can be incredibly addicting and deadly, whereas that’s not the case with cannabis. 

Furthermore, whether the suspected smugglers’ plan to sneak weed into the US among 378 boxes of broccoli could either indicate their brilliance or their idiocy. Broccoli so closely resembles cannabis that some people actually mistake the two. Even Facebook’s photo recognition algorithms once confused pictures of broccoli for pot, triggering unnecessary post deletions and blocked accounts. 

To be fair, the Customs and Border Protection website recognizes that pot prohibition has stifled research into cannabis’s medicinal properties. “[T]herapeutic uses of cannabis were still being explored, and American industry profited from commercial applications of hemp fiber, seeds and oil,” its website states. Additionally, the website noted that scientific “research and medical testing of marijuana also virtually disappeared” after the US government outlawed the plant in the 1930s.

Confusing weed with broccoli even got someone killed. In 2018, a Florida teen was ripped off when he purchased $3,000 of broccoli passed off to him as marijuana. The teen, later aware that he bought bunk bud, tried to recoup his losses through robbery, which resulted in a murder case that got him arrested.

What’s the lesson here? Don’t smuggle weed. Instead, mobilize to get it legalized where you live, if it’s not already legal there.

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