Many people believe that crime is directly related to the illegal drug trade. People tend to believe that since drugs in general are illegal that they lead to violent crime as people are are trying to get something in short supply. Experts have been watching Colorado since small amounts of marijuana have been legalized to see if crime and violent crimes will drop. Some prosecutors and police officers are concerned as they are seeing crime related to marijuana still occurring. Recently in Colorado, a 25-year-old was shot dead trying to sell marijuana illegally. Meanwhile, two men from Texas set up a warehouse to grow more weed than they would ever need. In another incident, three people buying pot in a grocery store parking lot were robbed at gunpoint. Many pot advocates believed that the black market for weed would disappear in Colorado but these recent incidents show that this is not the case.
Some in law enforcement believe that the legalization of marijuana has done nothing to curb crime relating to the sale of marijuana. Lt. Mark Comte of the Colorado Springs police vice and narcotics unit feels “If you can get it tax-free on the corner, you’re going to get it on the corner.” There are many reasons for continued crime related to marijuana and law enforcement does not believe that the reasons are going away anytime soon. Legal marijuana is heavily taxed and regulated. This means that an ounce of legal marijuana will cost someone $400.00 while on the black market it can be more than one hundred dollars cheaper. Drug dealers can produce the marijuana cheaper without having to comply with the strict regulations regarding licensing. Another big issue is that many people believe that they can deal marijuana and fly under the radar as law enforcement will not be prosecuting the crime because possession is now legal. One of the biggest reasons that crime related to marijuana will not end is money. The drug dealers can produce it cheaply, making a substantial profit and criminals will follow the money which leads to robberies and murder.
Pot advocates believe that the black market and the crime related to it will disappear overtime. “It’s just a transition period,” activist Brian Vicente said. “Marijuana was illegal for the last 80 years in our state, and there are some remnants of that still around. Certainly, much like alcohol, over time these underground dealers will fade away.” Pot advocate like to point out that most people want to buy weed in a well lit, organized and clean store. Advocates believe that if it is legal people will flock to legal retailers. Yet, the cost to produce legal marijuana is a big issue plus it is difficult for producers to get a license and there are many regulations to the industry. “Those barriers to entry already create the potential for the black market, and then you add these taxes on top of it, and it makes it impossible to get rid of,” said Robert Corry, a lawyer from Denver who helped write the pot legalization measure but opposed the taxes.
It is clear that this debate will not end anytime soon as many states are watching Colorado to see how they deal with these issues. As a criminal defense attorney I believe that the legalization of marijuana or drugs will not eliminate the black market and the crime that goes with it. As long as there is way to make money people will attempt to get around the rules and make money. One of the biggest issues is that the taxes in Colorado makes the cost of illegal marijuana worth the risk to buy and sell for many people. If you take the profit out of the black market people will stop going to the black market.
If you are caught buying or selling drugs and you need the advice of a lawyer you can contact the experienced attorneys at Sansone & Lauber for a free consultation at 314-863-0500.