Colo. Medical Marijuana Diverted to Illegal Markets

Friday, 03 Aug 2012 11:52 AM

By Greg McDonald

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Colorado has become a big marketing supplier of illegal marijuana across the country since its medical marijuana law was enacted in 2010, according to a report in the Denver Post.
 
Citing regional and national drug enforcement agencies, the newspaper said marijuana being grown and used in the state by patients, caregivers, and dispensaries is being diverted to illegal use in at least 23 states.
 
In Illinois, for example, officials report that marijuana from Colorado is shipped to Chicago with even more frequency than it comes in from California or Oregon via UPS, FedEx, and even the U.S. Postal Service.
 
The Post said the diversions of the drug were confirmed in a review of records and information gathered by Colorado officials during the 19 months since the state medical marijuana law took effect on Jan. 1, 2010.
 
“We felt it was probably being diverted, but didn’t expect it to be this pronounced, especially with such a small-scale study,” said Tom Gorman, director of the Rocky Mountain regional drug trafficking team that conducted the study.
 
The Post also reported that the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration had suggested Colorado “is on track to become a primary source of supply of high-grade marijuana throughout the country.”
 
Supporters of medical marijuana laws, however, said they find it hard to believe that diversion is such a big problem, since the state has one of the toughest laws in the country when it comes to enforcement.
 
“It’s just disingenuous to say that marijuana didn’t exist in other states and that all of a sudden it does because of medical marijuana laws in Colorado,” Brian Vicente, executive director of Sensible Colorado, told the Post.
 

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