Beware The Baggage That Comes With Weed Legalization! Just Ask California

There has been a tacit understanding between the states and the federal government where marijuana is lawful since the legalization movement started in 2012. 

How is that plan coming along, then? This month, the Los Angeles Times debuted a new series detailing its investigation into these questions in rural California. 

More Problems, Bribery, Corruption

After a 2016 referendum, marijuana usage for recreational purposes was made legal in California. Legalization advocates said transitioning to a regulated, taxed market would be preferable to the chaotic, criminal trade that existed before. 

They assured us the legitimate marijuana industry would eventually drive out the black market. The current trend is in the other direction. 

In summary, the results of federal inaction and reduced state sanctions for marijuana infractions are unfavorable.

Instead of reducing crime, establishing a regulated marijuana sector has pushed criminality out into the state’s rural areas and sunk local politics to a new low in every corner of the Golden State. 

To obtain growing permits and legislative support for the industry’s expansion, local politicians now receive and demand enormous bribes. The Los Angeles Times cites an unnamed source who said bribe demands usually are in the low six figures. 

A degree of participation from federal law enforcement has been present in sting operations and the prosecution of corrupt officials. A number of stones must be missed for everyone that is turned over. 

That’s merely commerce inside the law!

As a result of Proposition 64’s weakened criminal penalties and the federal government’s lack of interest in combating the marijuana industry, a plethora of illegal and unchecked marijuana farms have cropped up across the Golden State. 

Camps full of armed men who are violent and often affiliated with cartels dot the countryside. The locals are too afraid to investigate the remote reaches of their own land because of the terrible exploitation of their low-level workers by the growers next door.

Police Enforcement

Law enforcement agencies at the local level are overworked and stressed to the point where they can only effectively uphold the law in a tiny minority of all cases. 

Officers in numerous departments confront or fear reprisal from drug traffickers and illegal marijuana farmers if they act on or even speak out against these groups. 

When authorities do undertake raids, the kingpins behind illegal grows are only somewhat inconvenienced, at best. Typically, only low-level personnel are targeted; cultivation can be back to work in a matter of days. 

The biggest irony is a record harvest and falling cannabis prices are threatening the legal trade, which has become so large, it is beyond the grasp of law enforcement. 

The Los Angeles Times puts it this way: the reduction in criminal punishments for significant marijuana infractions “lowered the cost of business” for black market farmers. 

The effects of the marijuana legalization trend in California need to be made known to the public.

Do not forget the suffering of a state already having problems under the hardships of energy shortages, rampant crime, and an escaping population trying to seek a better life elsewhere.

This article appeared in Our Patriot and has been published here with permission.