So This is Legal Cannabis? Hundreds of Homes and Businesses Raided, Dozens Arrested in CO Weed Sting
Since legal adult-use recreational cannabis sales began in Colorado in 2014, the state’s regulated marijuana market has raked in a whopping $6,000,000,000+ while witnessing month over month growth to this day. In fact, March of 2019 marked the highest monthly total revenues so far, tipping the scales with over $142 million in sales in that month alone.
Much like in California’s legal market, there are a slew of taxes levied on every gram of regulated reefer in Colorado, but unlike in Cali, they aren’t high enough to cripple the entire industry in the Centennial State. But when you are pushing the sort of weight that they are there in the shadow of the Rocky Mountains, those taxes add up fast and the state as well as local municipalities have become major beneficiaries of the booming green economy.
All of that money gets earmarked by local politicians and planning groups to tackle overdue tasks like school remodels, construction of homeless facilities, funding scholarships and other opportunities for underprivileged youth, and more.
Reading all of the above, it may sound like Colorado is a perfectly positive example of legal weed utopia. Well, that’s far from the truth for many reasons not the least of which is the glaring fact that anytime you create a new law you create new outlaws.
In a high stakes culmination of a three year investigation conducted by both state and federal authorities, 247 homes and 8 businesses were raided late last week in a massive crackdown on the unregulated, or black, market that still thrives in Colorado post-legalization.
State law allows residents to grow up to 12 cannabis plants of their own but authorities say that the targets of their raid last week included individuals allegedly growing hundreds or even thousands of plants in direct violation of the law. In all, over 80,000 pot plants were chopped and more than 4,500 pounds of harvested bud was seized. In a broad daylight display of grand theft by the feds and local pigs, asset forfeiture laws are being enforced to hand the government $2.2 million in discovered cash as well as the keys to 25 vehicles and 41 homes associated with the investigation. Those homes carry an estimated average value of $400,000 each … or another $16.4 mill right into the donut fund.
What a double dip! Take from the legal tax revenues, then take again from those who don't color within the lines.
Investigators admit that even with such a large scale crackdown, they encountered no violence and although a handful of firearms were confiscated, authorities refused to even give a count, rendering their presence irrelevant in the grand scheme of things.
Stupidly, a man named George Brauchler, the weed-hating district attorney for the south and east Denver suburbs, attributed the busts last week to the fact that Colorado residents are given the right to grow their own cannabis at home. He warns other states now mulling such a decision to look to Colorado as a dangerous vision of their own future but there is no correlating evidence tying the two concepts together other than the fact that the plant is the same in both examples.
The fact of the matter is, Colorado has long been a hub of grey and black market cannabis activity dating back well before 2014. Basic geography shows that the conservative states surrounding it provide perfect outlets for Colorado’s illegal harvests and that certainly didn’t stop when things got legal. In fact, looping laws and other measures intended to keep people from driving into Colorado with a pocket full of cash and driving back to their home state with pounds of legal weed all but guaranteed that the mass export of illegal bud would not only continue but intensify until those neighboring states put their own legal markets in place. Supply and Demand, baby.
Even legal operators in Colorado’s cannabis scene should shudder a bit at this latest series of federally-assisted raids. State authorities made it perfectly clear that Big Brother did not force his way into Colorado to flex federal laws, but instead was invited to do so in partnership with state level law enforcement. Sort of like, “Don’t worry, they didn’t kick the door in and start swinging their dicks around, we opened the door and let them in and then they started swinging their dicks around.” Either way, too many dicks swinging.
As long as cannabis remains such an easy, low-hanging fruit for lazy and cowardly federal law enforcement, our non-violent brothers and sisters will continue to get picked off.