Colorado’s Legal Weed Shows Up In Over 40 States

By John Lavitt 08/29/14

The rapid spread of Colorado weed to other states has created a new black market that has caused headaches for law enforcement.

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Since Colorado legalized marijuana in 2012, local dealers have shifted their efforts to the countrywide distribution of the high-tech homegrown.

According to law enforcement records, Colorado home-grown marijuana and other weed products have shown up in over 40 states across the country. The illegal importation of Colorado-grown pot has led to new challenges for state police forces in several Mountain West and Plains states. Beyond these neighboring states, Colorado kind has turned up in states as far-flung as New York and Florida.

As director of the federal Rocky Mountain High-Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas program, Tom Gorman explained that the agency has “documented 40 different states that [Colorado’s marijuana] has gone to…The marijuana laws [in Colorado] were supposed to eliminate the black market," he said. "But in effect they have become the black market."

The federal Drug Enforcement Administration raised the alarm at the start of the marijuana legal reform movement about the possibility of a sharp upturn in marijuana trafficking. Federal law clearly states that marijuana purchased in a state where marijuana dispensaries operate must remain within that state's borders.

“We can't ignore the marijuana…It's just hard to justify pulling resources," said Sheriff Cody Beeson of Cheyenne County, Kan. "[T]o put them on the highway to just strictly find marijuana coming in from Colorado…when you're paying a deputy by the hour, he's not getting another job you want done that serves the community.”

Marijuana purchased in Colorado can be sold for double or even triple the price in states where it is not legal. A study by the Rocky Mountain High-Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas program found that the amount of Colorado pot seized en route to other states increased 400% between 2005 and 2012.

According to the Denver Post, the number of postal interceptions of marijuana from Colorado increased from 15 such interceptions in all of 2010 to 209 in the first five months of 2013.

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Growing up in Manhattan as a stutterer, John Lavitt discovered that writing was the best way to express himself when the words would not come. After graduating with honors from Brown University, he lived on the Greek island of Patmos, studying with his mentor, the late American poet Robert Lax. As a writer, John’s published work includes three articles in Chicken Soup For The Soul volumes and poems in multiple poetry journals and compilations. Active in recovery, John has been the Treatment Professional News Editor for The Fix. Since 2015, he has published over 500 articles on the addiction and recovery news website. Today, he lives in Los Angeles, trying his best to be happy and creative. Find John on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.