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Legal? Not Here: States allowing recreational use emerge as illicit marijuana source

by Gazette Staff | May 20, 2018 at 12:53 a.m. | Updated May 20, 2018 at 12:49 a.m.

Arkansas Highway Police have always made drug seizures at weigh stations and during traffic stops.

Mexican drug cartels have long used southern highways to transport the drugs for distribution across the country.

But lately the police have been seeing a new source of marijuana-states where its recreational use is legal.

Take the Alma, Ark., weigh station, for example. In less than a month, the highway police have seized more than 770 pounds of pot concealed in vehicles required to pull over at the weigh station, according to a story this week in U.S. News and World Report.

And it looks like a lot of it is coming from states like California and Colorado, where no medical reason is needed to buy marijuana.

Police say the hidden grass is more professionally packaged, indicating a legal source.

Arkansas has legalized medical marijuana, though neither growing facilities nor dispensaries are operating as of yet. But recreational use of the drug is still illegal in the state. And transporting the stuff across state lines, no matter if it came from some shady character on a street corner or from a brightly lit, main-street pot shop in Los Angeles, is a federal offense. A serious one.

We suspect there are those who get caught up in the moment while visiting the West and might try to bring a bit of the legal pot home. And they may get away with a small amount. But it's illegal and risky to do so. We advise you to leave the legal stuff where it's legal.

But large quantities hidden in mostly commercial vehicles? That's just trafficking for profit, and a legal source doesn't make it any less serious of a crime. It also indicates these states that allow recreational use need to tighten up on security. That stuff didn't load itself in such quantities, and we doubt they came from small purchases at a large number of stores. It's likely some in the legal trade are in on it.

It doesn't matter what your feelings are on the subject of marijuana. Break the law and there are consequences.

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