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Pot: Colorado has uncovered another glitch

Pueblo County in Colorado has been conducting raids on illegal cannabis grows, which is to say growing operations without licenses. It looks like Colorado pot is valuable for it’s reputation on the black market in the illegal states, is closer to them physically, and it’s easier to operate as a pirate within the legal environment. As always with these things, the pirate growers are usually described as “out-of-state” or “criminal organizations” or “cartels”.

Washington never had a significant export tradition, and it’s fairly easy to become licensed as a grower. The product hasn’t enjoyed the hype that Colorado has, and there are some serious mountains to get over when transporting to the east. So, it’s likely not a problem right now.

But, come July 1, all growers must have a 502 license, immediately making those in the unregulated medical market that did not seek or qualify for a license pirates by definition. Those that persist after being given every chance to buy into the regulated system can be charged with not having a license, trafficking, and no doubt tax evasion. And subject to federal raids. So I’d expect a lot of mop-up operations similar to Pueblo County soon after July.

Oregon does have a tradition of export to states all over the country, and a lot of the growers aren’t happy with the control the state is trying to impose. I’d expect that a lot of Oregon weed will continue to be grown without licensing and shipped out to points east much as it always has. Oregon regulations are loose enough to allow this for a while.

Licensed growers of cannabis in the legal states have a compact with the state that the state will shield them from federal raids. The states have a compact with the feds that they’ll regulate their growers provided they don’t transport product over state lines. Therefore, it’s the state’s responsibility to assure unlicensed growers don’t export to protect their licensed growers from the feds. Licensed growers give large amounts of money to the state for this cover.

I’d hate to have to teach this to high school civics classes…..

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