Is Colorado Becoming a Pot Exporter?
NEW YORK ( MainStreet) Is Colorado becoming an exporter of marijuana ? Some reports indicate it is. One federal official says the state is becoming the source for pot in the Midwest.The trend is not new - it has been happening since about 2009. But with legalization the amount is increasing.
"2009 was when the medical marijuana explosion occurred and some started coming out of Colorado," said Tom Gorman, director of the Rocky Mountain High Intensity Drug Area. "Our August 2013 showed that interdiction seizures involving Colorado marijuana quadrupled from an average per year of 52 for 2005 to 2008 to 242 for the period from 2009 to 2012.
Many proponents of legalizing marijuana have noted that marijuana is becoming a cash crop. But they want to bet on a legal cash crop .
Daylin Leach, a Democratic Party state senator from Pennsylvania is such a person . While attending a cannabis investor conference earlier this year, sponsored by ArcView a marijuana angel investor group , Leach said, "Imagine our economic future." He is bullish on marijuana becoming legal in Pennsylvania and elsewhere and the substance being exported to other states much the way oranges from Florida and California make their way to Pennsylvania.
But others are not so pleased nor are they surprised about the illegal smuggling out of Colorado . They would prefer to keep it illegal and not a cash crop for governments to tax.
William F. Otis is part of this camp. Otis is law professor at George Mason University law school.
"My memory is that the new Colorado law 'forbids' interstate movement or sales, but did anyone think there would, or could, be a serious effort to enforce such a prohibition?" he said. "Both the ethos and the practicalities tell you it's not going to happen."
"Who among us can be surprised?" he added. "Travel between states is a lot easier and less scrutinized than travel between countries (like to Mexico), so people who want to buy this stuff are only doing the sensible thing in making a quick trip to Denver or Boulder instead of having to trek to the border " he added.
Gorman said that there will only be more of this smuggling outside of Colorado.
"We will have a new report coming out that will show the trend is increasing," he said.
According to the U.S. Dept. of Commerce, Colorado's largest "merchandise export category is Computer & Electronic Products, which accounted for $2.1 billion of Colorado's total merchandise exports in 2013. Other top merchandise exports are Food & Kindred Products ($1.4 billion), Machinery, Except Electrical ($1.2 billion), Chemicals ($790 million), and Miscellaneous Manufactured Commodities ($546 million)."