Yesterday, U.S. Customs and Border Protection announced that Nogales Station Border Patrol agents working at the Interstate 19 Immigration Checkpoint Tuesday night found almost 174 pounds of marijuana in the trunk of a car during a secondary vehicle inspection.
During the secondary inspection of the unnamed 34-year-old male U.S. citizen’s Chrysler Concorde, agents discovered eight bundles of marijuana inside trash bags in the vehicle’s trunk.
Not only did agents seized the drugs, estimated by U.S. Customs and Border Protection to be worth more than $86,000, but they also seized the vehicle. Last, but not least, the driver from Apache Junction, Arizona was arrested and charged with drug smuggling.
Arizona isn’t the problem.
While Arizona unfortunately failed to pass the Arizona Marijuana Legalization Initiative, a.k.a. Prop. 205, in the November 2016 election, the state has had access to medical marijuana since 2010 when residents passed Arizona’s Prop. 203.
With over 100 medical marijuana dispensaries across the state of Arizona, the state has more than ample access to medical marijuana. Given the fact that migraines, back pain, and neck pain qualify a patient for medical marijuana in Arizona – almost every adult in Arizona can qualify!
So, where’s all that weed going?
Presumably the 174 pounds of pot that was seized earlier this week was headed up to Interstate 40, which would offer a quick route East to major cities as close as Albuquerque, New Mexico and as far as Charlotte, North Carolina.
Worth noting, is the fact that none of those cities have legalize access to marijuana. Given the marijuana drought in some states, the high price per pound can be hard for traffickers and other black market participants to ignore.
As NPR reported earlier this year, “The reason is simple economics. Overproduction in Washington and other states with legal pot, such as Oregon, has led to a market glut — and rock-bottom wholesale prices in the legal market…In states where marijuana is still illegal, the same product would easily fetch three or four times that price.”
Risks vs. rewards…
Whereas most fear the long prison sentences associated with such crimes, others take the gamble.
The one aforementioned seizure is one of many, as U.S. Customs and Border Protection ramps up efforts to enforce federal drug laws. What is important about this specific seizure and arrest is that it was a U.S. citizen that saw no better opportunity out there than to arbitrage marijuana prices across borders.
As I see it, the only way to solve this problem is to legalize marijuana on a federal level.
The legalization efforts have already created new job opportunities, and a January 2018 report from BDS Analytics estimated that the number of direct jobs in the legal cannabis industry will top 291,500 by the year 2021. If marijuana were to be legalized on a federal level, the job opportunities could reach far beyond those estimates.
On top of all that, it would give Customs and Border Protection agents more time to focus on intercepting mega-shipments of liquid meth that are coming into the United States.
Get Real-Time Updates from MJobserver.com