One of the most repeated (and most ridiculous) claims about marijuana legalization is that it would bring drug cartels to the states that pass these laws. Cartels stick to illegal activity, so why would making something legal mean the cartel would suddenly get involved? The logic doesn't hold, so, unsurprisingly, there's also no physical evidence that cartels are getting involved in legalized states.
The Gillette News Record ran an investigative piece on possible cartel activity in Colorado since marijuana legalization began. They noted that while law enforcement officials in El Paso and Teller counties in Colorado had talked about cartel activity in their areas, none of the 650 illegal grow operations in those counties could be tied to international cartels. Even major law enforcement officials are talking about how ridiculous claims about cartels are.
"What we have a tendency to do is think if there's a Mexican involved in Colorado, they're cartels," said Tim Gorman, director of the federally funded anti-marijuana police organization Rocky Mountain High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area. "Probably not."
But despite that lack of evidence, law enforcement will still claim cartel activity in these areas, and you'll even see headlines talking about a bust on cartel operations. How can that be, if there's no actual evidence of international cartels in Colorado?
Well, because they're lying.
Law enforcement in these areas have begun referring to any "drug trafficking organization" as a cartel. Except a drug trafficking organization is literally just if two or more people grow more than the legally allowed amount of cannabis or sell it out of state. So if two guys grow a few too many cannabis plants, they're considered a "drug trafficking organization," which law enforcement then twists into "cartel."
So there's no evidence of drug cartels in Colorado, but police are continuing to say there are. Sounds legit.
(h/t Gillette News Record)