Drug traffickers and out-of-state opportunists are exploiting Colorado’s medical marijuana laws. Recent revisions to state law have done little to prevent the
involvement of criminals and individuals who use the law for financial gain.
Currently, convicted criminals and known drug traffickers participate in Colorado’s medical marijuana industry. Moreover, an influx of traffickers and entrepreneurs from other states is seeking to cash in on Colorado’s medical marijuana industry. Investigative and intelligence information reveal a significant volume of Colorado-produced marijuana being diverted to out-of-state marijuana markets where it commands a higher price. This activity is facilitated both by those directly involved in medical marijuana businesses, as well as illicit brokers who seek “excess” or diverted marijuana to sell to marijuana traffickers.
When Amendment 20, which established the state constitutional right for medicinal marijuana in Colorado, was passed by citizen petition in November 2000, the law dealt with the use and distribution of medical marijuana in a very general fashion. By 2010, Coloradans had witnessed a proliferation in the number of medical marijuana patients, caregivers, commercial dispensaries, sophisticated grow operations, and various associated business ventures such as marijuana brokers and consultants. Vague legislation and loose enforcement combined with an aggressive, profitable industry presents ample opportunity for diversion and exploitation. Colorado’s legislative attempts to address the evolving industry are described in DEA-DEN-DIB-012-12. This document identifies avenues being used by drug traffickers and “ganjapreneurs” exploiting the permissive medical marijuana industry for profit.