According to a new report by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency, illegal production of marijuana in Washington state has seen an outstanding decrease since 2010. This indicates that more cannabis enthusiasts are headed towards the legal business world instead of being involved in the much cheaper black market marijuana.
The Yakima Herald-Republic reported that the amount of processed marijuana seized by the DEA drastically dropped from 3,126 pounds in 2010 to a much smaller amount of 635 pounds in 2014. Alongside the decrease of processed marijuana, the report also said the number of marijuana plants that were seized in Washington State was around 80% – or 57,000 plants- less than what the agency reported in 2010. So what exactly brought about this dramatic amount of decrease? Washington state voters legalized the recreational use of cannabis in 2012 and the first stores opened in 2014. It’s clear that legalization had a tremendous affect on the state, numbers most certainly do not lie.
The Washington State Patrol connected the drop to increased air reconnaissance and better coordination between state, local and federal law enforcement, the paper reported. Across the nation, the number of plants that was seized dropped significantly from 10 million in 2010 to 6 million in 2014. However, the amount of processed marijuana that was seized increased from 86,000 pounds in 2010 to 134,000 pounds in 2014, according to the DEA.
Even though Washington State isn’t the number one state that has the most illegal cultivation taking place- California holds that title- the state consistently ranks in the top 10. This can be caused by a number of components. For one, the state possesses a fairly large amount of publicly-owned land which permits the growth of marijuana, according to Washington State Patrol Lt. Chris Sweet. Another contributing factor is that the Mexican Cartels that are responsible for most of the illegal growth of cannabis are aware of Washington’s suitable climate, and have responded accordingly. Lieutenant Sweet claims that the growing season is very good in the state’s climate.
In a more recent report produced by the DEA and the Department of Justice found the Mexican Sinaloa Cartel to be responsible for most of the illegal activity occurring in Eastern Washington. The report discovered that the increasing numbers of cartels are responsible for activity along the state’s port cities, more specifically those along Puget Sound.
“Domestically produced marijuana is typically trafficked from the West Coast — particularly from states with robust ‘medical marijuana’ or ‘recreational’ marijuana laws — to states on the East Coast or the Southeast”.
According to Lieutenant Sweet, it’s still far too early to tell what effect, if any at all, the state’s legalization of marijuana will have on the illegal growth of cannabis that is occurring in the state. Though the numbers tell us that the legalization of cannabis is doing positive things for the state, Sweet says that the trend doesn’t tell us much, for now. It’s still pretty unclear whether the numbers will increase, decrease or remain the same.
Do you think legalizing marijuana can really decrease the numbers of illegal growth? Will Washington State’s numbers continue to decrease? Let us know on social media or in the comments below.