Pot surplus may be connected to illegal trafficking
The Medford Police Department said Oregon has more marijuana available than cannabis users are consuming, in fact, 2 million pounds too much.
After state legalization, marijuana was grown for an estimated 417,000 users in Oregon. Other states don't have the same leniency with marijuana laws. Oregon's neighbors to the east, Idaho, outlaws both recreational and, medicinal marijuana.
This weekend's suspected traffickers were residents of Idaho where the demand for marijuana is therefore high.
"There's been a surplus of marijuana, even under the medical marijuana side since 1998, so there's been a black market since 1998," Lt. Mike Budreau of the Medford Police Department said.
"The fact Oregon legalized it only made that worse so we're dealing with an enormous amount of surplus, you know, much more than Oregon could ever consume so people engage in black market marijuana sales," Budreau said.
Prohibition can be a driving factor in the black market, where supply and demand are attempted to be met. The surplus Oregon has while neighboring a state like Idaho creates a close area for this kind of traffic.
Ricky Lave, the dispensary manager of House of Leaves in Ashland, gave his perspective through his experience of legal marijuana sales.
"It's kind of like a supply and demand issue, I think as long as there are states that have prohibition, you’re going to have the demand for illegal bud and someone is always going to be willing to decide it, or take the risk to try and supply it," Lave said. "So I think federal regulation is probably the biggest thing that would help with that."
Officials are speculating that this will be an ongoing issue until prohibition is ended in other states where the demand for marijuana is high.