Indiana Has Its Work Cut Out For It Trying To Stop Interstate Marijuana Trafficking

Marijuana Driving Under the Influence

Stock photo of a man smoking marijuana in a vehicle driving a car under the influence of cannabis.

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The heartland of the United States could soon see an impressive collision between legal marijuana and black market commerce that will have law enforcement officers in prohibition states spiraling out of control. 

It was just announced that Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker plans to sign the state's recreational marijuana bill into law next week. This means legal weed sales in the Land of Lincoln are set to get underway in about six months. 

Meanwhile, Michigan pot consumers are expected to buy so much cannabis in the next few years that their recreational market rivals Colorado’s now billion dollar scene. Toss in the fact that Ohio is enthusiastic about implementing additional marijuana reforms, and that larger cities in Kentucky are encouraging police to stop busting people for pot possession, and it is readily apparent that Indiana really is the only state in the cluster that refuses to get with the times.

Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb not only believes the state should hold off on legalization until after the federal government changes the pot laws at the national level, but he is convinced that the state has the resources to keep people from smuggling legal marijuana into the area. 

The governor recently told WISH-TV that he has the utmost confidence in the boys in blue across the Hoosier state to stop a savage uprising in black market marijuana from landing everywhere from Gary to Evansville. 

"We've got the best police force in the country," Holcomb said in an interview with the news source earlier this week. "I may be a little biased when I say that, but by every indicator that we measure, they are just that, and they'll continue to do their job and they'll do it with distinction ... regardless of policy changes that I think prematurely have been made in states surrounding us."

Despite Holcomb's confidence in the state police, the governor may actually be more naïve than biased. 

Ever since states began legalizing marijuana for recreational use around five years ago, the black market in areas of prohibition has gotten stronger. All across the country, states where marijuana remains an illicit substance are seeing an influx of legal pot products in their neck of the woods. 

Just last week, the Tennessee Highway Patrol seized 35 pounds of marijuana, including 10 pounds of raw cannabis and a variety of edibles, vape pens, and other drug paraphernalia, reports Fox 17 Nashville

The majority of these products are coming from legal states. It has been that way since Colorado launched its taxed and regulated system back in 2014. 

These illegal pot shipments – some larger, some smaller than what was seen recently in Tennessee — are occurring out there daily, and not even the best police force in the nation can catch them all. 

Just ask Nebraska and Oklahoma. 

Law enforcement officials in those states were so bogged down by the illicit pot smuggling coming out of Colorado after it launched legal sales that they ended up filing a lawsuit. The complaint asserted that "marijuana flow [from Colorado] "into neighboring states” is “draining their treasuries, and placing stress on their criminal justice systems." It also suggested that 34 other states were having the same problem. Of course, the lawsuit was eventually snuffed out by the Supreme Court.

Now, states that border jurisdictions with legal weed have no choice but to grin and bear it. 

In its defense, however, Colorado has done its best to remedy the black market pot problem. Police there have made around 500 felony arrests and seized about 100,000 illegal cannabis plants over the past couple of years.

But a recent report from Colorado Public Radio indicates that law enforcement in the Centennial State are not at all confident in their ability to stop marijuana from being exported into other areas. “I’ve never seen the black market for marijuana as robust and as expertly cultivated, forgive that pun, as I have right now,” said District Attorney George Brauchler.

So just how do Indiana cops plan to handle the marijuana situation now that legal weed is going to be coming in regularly from Michigan, Illinois, and Ohio? Well, it seems their plan is to just go about business as usual. Indiana State Police Sgt. John Perrine says his troopers are "not going to do anything different," and that they will "continue to enforce laws the same way we have done so in the past." 

Police hope that the threat of legal repercussions will stop Indiana residents from bringing pot over from legal states.

As it stands, anyone caught with “any amount” of marijuana can be charged with a misdemeanor. This comes with a penalty of up to 180 days in jail and fines reaching $1,000. Over 30 grams (an ounce) with a previous drug conviction and the charge becomes a felony – this could mean prison and substantially larger fines. A first offense for possession of marijuana concentrates (5 grams of more) could get someone locked up for around 2.5 years.

But have faith in the Hoosiers, they are going to push the limits.

It is estimated that marijuana legalization in Illinois is going to bring about 24,000 new jobs and generate $500 million in state and local tax revenue. Considering that the state is also going to save on law enforcement resources by no longer busting pot offenders, Pritzker's decision to sign the marijuana bill into law next week is one of a wise man. 

But Indiana Governor Holcomb's choice to obstruct legalization achieves the complete opposite. His inaction on this issue is guaranteed to prevent the economic growth of struggling Indiana communities– and there are more than a few. Not to mention trying to stop legal marijuana from spilling over into Hoosier lands will inevitably eat away at the state’s budget, which is presently improving. At this point, fighting the marijuana movement in Indiana only serves to create more burden for law enforcement and hardships for Indiana families. This while also depriving residents the type of growth and opportunity that Americans in legal marijuana states are now enjoying.

Good luck, Indiana. You’re going to need it!

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The heartland of the United States could soon see an impressive collision between legal marijuana and black market commerce that will have law enforcement officers in prohibition states spiraling out of control. 

It was just announced that Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker plans to sign the state's recreational marijuana bill into law next week. This means legal weed sales in the Land of Lincoln are set to get underway in about six months. 

Meanwhile, Michigan pot consumers are expected to buy so much cannabis in the next few years that their recreational market rivals Colorado’s now billion dollar scene. Toss in the fact that Ohio is enthusiastic about implementing additional marijuana reforms, and that larger cities in Kentucky are encouraging police to stop busting people for pot possession, and it is readily apparent that Indiana really is the only state in the cluster that refuses to get with the times.

Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb not only believes the state should hold off on legalization until after the federal government changes the pot laws at the national level, but he is convinced that the state has the resources to keep people from smuggling legal marijuana into the area. 

The governor recently told WISH-TV that he has the utmost confidence in the boys in blue across the Hoosier state to stop a savage uprising in black market marijuana from landing everywhere from Gary to Evansville. 

"We've got the best police force in the country," Holcomb said in an interview with the news source earlier this week. "I may be a little biased when I say that, but by every indicator that we measure, they are just that, and they'll continue to do their job and they'll do it with distinction ... regardless of policy changes that I think prematurely have been made in states surrounding us."

Despite Holcomb's confidence in the state police, the governor may actually be more naïve than biased. 

Ever since states began legalizing marijuana for recreational use around five years ago, the black market in areas of prohibition has gotten stronger. All across the country, states where marijuana remains an illicit substance are seeing an influx of legal pot products in their neck of the woods. 

Just last week, the Tennessee Highway Patrol seized 35 pounds of marijuana, including 10 pounds of raw cannabis and a variety of edibles, vape pens, and other drug paraphernalia, reports Fox 17 Nashville

The majority of these products are coming from legal states. It has been that way since Colorado launched its taxed and regulated system back in 2014. 

These illegal pot shipments – some larger, some smaller than what was seen recently in Tennessee — are occurring out there daily, and not even the best police force in the nation can catch them all. 

Just ask Nebraska and Oklahoma. 

Law enforcement officials in those states were so bogged down by the illicit pot smuggling coming out of Colorado after it launched legal sales that they ended up filing a lawsuit. The complaint asserted that "marijuana flow [from Colorado] "into neighboring states” is “draining their treasuries, and placing stress on their criminal justice systems." It also suggested that 34 other states were having the same problem. Of course, the lawsuit was eventually snuffed out by the Supreme Court.

Now, states that border jurisdictions with legal weed have no choice but to grin and bear it. 

In its defense, however, Colorado has done its best to remedy the black market pot problem. Police there have made around 500 felony arrests and seized about 100,000 illegal cannabis plants over the past couple of years.

But a recent report from Colorado Public Radio indicates that law enforcement in the Centennial State are not at all confident in their ability to stop marijuana from being exported into other areas. “I’ve never seen the black market for marijuana as robust and as expertly cultivated, forgive that pun, as I have right now,” said District Attorney George Brauchler.

So just how do Indiana cops plan to handle the marijuana situation now that legal weed is going to be coming in regularly from Michigan, Illinois, and Ohio? Well, it seems their plan is to just go about business as usual. Indiana State Police Sgt. John Perrine says his troopers are "not going to do anything different," and that they will "continue to enforce laws the same way we have done so in the past." 

Police hope that the threat of legal repercussions will stop Indiana residents from bringing pot over from legal states.

As it stands, anyone caught with “any amount” of marijuana can be charged with a misdemeanor. This comes with a penalty of up to 180 days in jail and fines reaching $1,000. Over 30 grams (an ounce) with a previous drug conviction and the charge becomes a felony – this could mean prison and substantially larger fines. A first offense for possession of marijuana concentrates (5 grams of more) could get someone locked up for around 2.5 years.

But have faith in the Hoosiers, they are going to push the limits.

It is estimated that marijuana legalization in Illinois is going to bring about 24,000 new jobs and generate $500 million in state and local tax revenue. Considering that the state is also going to save on law enforcement resources by no longer busting pot offenders, Pritzker's decision to sign the marijuana bill into law next week is one of a wise man. 

But Indiana Governor Holcomb's choice to obstruct legalization achieves the complete opposite. His inaction on this issue is guaranteed to prevent the economic growth of struggling Indiana communities– and there are more than a few. Not to mention trying to stop legal marijuana from spilling over into Hoosier lands will inevitably eat away at the state’s budget, which is presently improving. At this point, fighting the marijuana movement in Indiana only serves to create more burden for law enforcement and hardships for Indiana families. This while also depriving residents the type of growth and opportunity that Americans in legal marijuana states are now enjoying.

Good luck, Indiana. You’re going to need it!

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I am a freelance writer hailing from the darkest depths of the armpit of America. That’s Southern Indiana, just in case you were wondering. When I’m not carving out a ju...