A growing epidemic even where it's legal

Tuesday, July 10, 2018
 | 
Chris Woodward (OneNewsNow.com)

drugs smoking marijuanaNumerous states and municipalities have taken steps to legalize marijuana but that hasn't stopped the sale of illegal marijuana.

According to The Associated Press, hundreds of illegal marijuana shops are operating in Los Angeles County, in a state that ushered in broad marijuana legislation nearly six months ago.

It has become such a problem in Los Angeles that the Sheriff's Department created a specialized unit to target illegal dispensaries.

"It's a money-lucrative business so there's people willing to take the risk," a spokesman for the Sheriff's Narcotics Bureau told the AP.

Illegal marijuana is also a problem in Colorado.

"There definitely is an illegal market and in fact we've seen this across the state," says Debbie Chaves of Colorado Family Action and CFA Foundation. "Taxes here are roughly 30 percent on legal marijuana, so these illegal grows pop up because people want it cheaper, and that's what we're seeing happen."

medical marijuana dispensary (pot)In April alone, authorities in El Paso County, Colorado seized more than 100 pounds of marijuana. Nearly two dozen arrests were made.

Illegal marijuana is a problem for all kinds of neighborhoods, rich or poor.

"These could be neighborhoods on golf courses, in cul-de-sacs, expensive homes, it doesn't matter," she explains. "They're showing up everywhere."

That's a problem for a state where supporters of marijuana promised legalization would bring in revenue and cut down on marijuana crimes.

"Let's have money go to our schools and not criminals in Mexico," a YES on Amendment 64 TV Ad suggested ahead of Colorado's marijuana vote in 2012.

Chaves recommends people do more research on marijuana and know about the potency, youth health impacts, and more.

"We need to take note of those," she warns, "and understand that legal or illegal, we've got to stop this thing."

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