News outlets report that lawmakers in Oregon are considering legislation that would increase the penalties for illegal marijuana production.
Oregon was among the first states to legalize marijuana. At the time, many believed legalization would eliminate the black market and reduce drug crimes. Instead the opposite happened.
Oregon has been inundated by industrial scale marijuana cultivation sites operated illegally by organized crime and drug cartels.
Some of these marijuana operations are tied to labor trafficking and violent crime.
Authorities in Oregon reportedly have seized 105 tons of illicit marijuana this year alone.
Oregon isn’t the only state that has had problems as a result of marijuana legalization. California created a legal framework for growing and selling marijuana in order to weaken drug cartels’ power in the state, but instead their illegal marijuana farms have grown.
It’s worth pointing out that if Arkansas had passed Issue 4 last month, our marijuana laws arguably would be more lax than Oregon’s and California’s in many ways.
Contrary to popular belief, legalization does not decrease drug-related crime, and it does not alleviate drug abuse. If anything, it seems to make those problems worse.