smuggling

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California: Marijuana Being Smuggled From U.S. To Mexico

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

A recent report by KPBS.org suggests there’s an unexpected development in the story that is the war on drugs. The report says that there is a demand in Mexico for potent California strains of marijuana. Cannabis attorney Matthew Shapiro states that “there is no such thing as high-quality Mexican weed.”

Although equally as unlawful as smuggling contraband from Mexico into the U.S., the process of entering Mexico is a lot easier due to the lack of attention paid to the reversed ideology. A smuggler can cross the border into Tijuana without ever speaking to an official, making the process nearly risk-free.

Dr. Raul Palacios, clinical director at the Centro De Integracion Juvenil drug rehabilitation facility in Tijuana, says his patients prefer the potent California weed as opposed to the marijuana being grown in Mexico. Marijuana in Mexico averages a level of 2 percent THC, pot's psychoactive ingredient. marijuana grown in California, on the other hand, can reach a THC concentration level of 30 percent or higher.

Mexico is closely following the laws being passed in the U.S. regarding the marijuana industry. The $1 billion in tax revenue that California has generated makes it tempting for the Mexican government to follow its example.

Arizona: DEA Agent Echoes Message of Billboard Supporting Marijuana Initiative

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The Independence Day-themed ad highlights benefits of regulating and taxing marijuana in Arizona: ‘Adults could buy American and support schools, not cartels’

A 23-year veteran of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) who spent years investigating Mexican drug cartels is throwing his support behind the initiative to regulate marijuana like alcohol in Arizona and echoing the message of a billboard supporters launched this week at Tempe Marketplace.

“If Arizona regulates marijuana, adults could buy American,” reads the Independence Day-themed ad, instead of buying marijuana that has been illegally smuggled across the Mexican border into Arizona.

It also notes that revenue from regulated marijuana sales would “support schools, not cartels.” The proposed initiative would initially generate $64 million in annual state tax revenue, including $51 million for K-12 education and all-day kindergarten programs, according to an independent study conducted by the Grand Canyon Institute.

Louisiana: Fishermen Find Brick of Marijuana On Beach

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Capt. Theophile Bourgeois and his clients on Friday discovered a brick of cannabis while walking along an island beach in the Chandeleur chain off the Louisiana coast.

"It was half in the sand, right up on then beach," Bourgeois said, reports Todd Masson at The Times-Picayune. "My clients were like, 'What do you think it is?' I said, 'I'd bet my left nut what that is.' It was dark; I knew it wasn't cocaine. I said, 'That's weed.'"

They used to be called "square groupers" -- the stray bales of marijuana that occasionally washed up on the Gulf Coast, by-products of a thriving black market that brought weed into the U.S. via the Caribbean.

The anglers cut open the brick to check, and Capt. Bourgeois' suspicions were confirmed. "It was solid seeds and stems," he said. "It stunk. It was skunk weed."

The cannabis was very compressed, according to Bourgeois, and he estimated the weight of the brick as between 15 and 20 pounds. It appeared to have been lost at sea for awhile. "It was old and waterlogged," Bourgeois said.

"It was on the bay side, which meant it made its way through current and came around," he said. "It looked pretty damned old."

Arizona: Smuggler Arrested, 495 Pounds Of Pot Seized

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

A drug smuggler was arrested and 495 pounds of marijuana were seized last week according to a press release from the Pinal County Sheriff's Office in Arizona.

A deputy observed a red SUV on May 25 make a sudden turn off of Papago Road near Maricopa. The SUV sped away from the patrol car.

The deputy followed the SUV and saw it driving in circles at high speeds between fields where workers were present.

The SUV was found abandoned and an unknown number of occupants fled the SUV into nearby farm fields.

Officers found 22 bales of marijuana in the vehicle weighing a total of 495 pounds, according to a statement from the PCSO.

The deputy found the smuggler trying to blend in to a group of farm workers.

Work crews who witnessed the incident easily identified the smuggler.

PCSO identified the man who was arrested as Aldo Aleman, 19, of Stanfield.

Aleman is being held at Pinal County Jail.

Photo courtesy Pinal County Sheriff's Office

U.S.: Federal Numbers Show Marijuana Smuggling Plummets After States Legalize

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Federal marijuana trafficking offenses are on a steep decline nationwide as more states legalize recreational cannabis.

According to the latest drug trafficking statistics from the United States Sentencing Commission (USSC), such offenses have fallen sharply since 2012, the year that Colorado and Washington residents decided at the ballot box to legalize weed, reports Christopher Ingraham at The Washington Post.

The decline continues through 2015, the most recent year for which numbers are available.

"The number of marijuana traffickers rose slightly over time until a sharp decline in fiscal year 2013 and the number continues to decrease," according to the report. This, mind you, while trafficking in other drugs -- particularly meth and heroin -- appears to be on the rise.

The USSC's numbers show that at the federal level, marijuana trafficking is becoming less of a problem. Legalization could be reducing demand for black market sales, state prosecutors could have changed how they charge defendants, or there could be another explanation altogether. The data doesn't provide enough details to draw a conclusion, according to researchers.

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