The legalization of marijuana allows the pot industry to aggressively advertise and market a crude street drug as well as hundreds of additional products containing extremely high levels of THC. The marketing of these products along with easy access to unlimited supplies expands the customer base for marijuana and normalizes its use. As a result, the pot industry is free to openly advertise, manufacture, process, transport, and distribute massive quantities of drugs. This gives other "unlicensed" drug dealers the ability to blend in - to literally "hide in plain sight."
Because the black market exists to avoid taxes and regulations and make to money, cartels can easily undercut the price of "legal" sources and provide a "best price guarantee."
The demand for high-grade pot from Colorado, California, Washington, Oregon and other legalized states means that massive quantities are exported to every other state in the country. None of this happens legally.
Because of massive fraud and abuse, California has effectively been a recreational-use state since 1996, and yet their hills and mountains are full of cartel grows. Despite all of their claims of regulation and enforcement, Colorado has become a source of pot for the rest of the country. And in Oregon, where over $9 million in pro-pot spending caused the people of Oregon to legalize "personal use" possession of one half pound quantities of pot, the black market continues to thrive.
Just like the other big pro-pot lie that regulation keeps marijuana out of the hands of children, we have never had better evidence to reveal the absurd and fraudulent nature of their half-baked claims.
As a federal drug prosecutor who has interviewed thousands of drug traffickers for over two decades, I can say the following with absolute certainty:
Drug cartels and other criminal drug trafficking organizations are not intimidated by legalization. They are emboldened by it. Here is the latest evidence of that.
A massive marijuana grow connected to a Mexican drug trafficking organization was raided early Tuesday morning, resulting in one arrest and the seizure of more than 6,500 plants. A two-month long investigation in rural Dayton led the Yamhill County Interagency Narcotics Team to the illegal marijuana grow in the wetlands near the Willamette River, according to the Yamhill County Sheriff's Office.
In the early morning darkness, the team, with tactical help from the Oregon State Police SWAT, raided the production site. They discovered thousands of plants valued at more than $9 million.
Officials found an elaborate living area and kitchen hidden underneath a tarp within the marijuana gardens. They discovered 42-year-old Manuel Madrigal hiding in the secret living area. Deputies detained Madrigal, a resident of San Antonio, Texas, who had previous drug arrests.
Madrigal was arrested on federal charges of drug trafficking and transferred into U.S. Marshal custody in Portland.
Yamhill County Sheriff Tim Svenson said the raid was a good example of the dangers Oregon faces from marijuana, even though it is now legal in certain quantities. "There is still a profit to be made in marijuana by these illegal organizations," Svenson said. "As long as this continues, we will need to remain diligent in our investigations to keep this money from being routed to other areas of criminal activity."
The grow was the first large-scale drug trafficking organization operation Yamhill County has seen in several years. "Historically, these grows have been located on public lands in the mountains of western Yamhill County, and were difficult to access due to steep, dangerous terrain," a sheriff's official said in a statement. "This shows a shift in tactics by the drug trafficking organizations."