Earlier this year the Pawhuska police prided themselves having performed the “biggest [local] marijuana bust” seizing a shipment of a little more than 17,000 pounds of cannabis.
The crew who transported the shipment, which was en route from Kentucky to Colorado claimed it was legal hemp, not marijuana. The buyer of the shipment, James Baumgartner, Colorado, also provided documentation showing that the cannabis caught contained mostly plants with less than 0.3% of THC, thus falling under the legal limit and registering as hemp.
Arrested cargo crew - Photo via Tulsaworld
Because the law enforcers didn’t have the required tools to test the plants, the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs Control (OBNDD), decided the material had to be taken for a test in order to determine the actual product.
Now, almost a month later, a delay also due to the government shut down, the defense attorneys have delivered evidence that the majority of the plants were indeed below the 0.3% threshold, as shown in 11 tests. Out of the 11 tests, only 2 batches were “marginally” above the 0.3% THC level.
Yet, because we live in times when it is popular to waste tax dollars, Osage County’s new District Attorney Mike Fisher isn’t satisfied and plans to send the entire 17,000 pounds shipment to a laboratory in Colorado for testing.
These are situations we will hear about always more, especially now with the recently signed Farm Bill which federally legalizes hemp cultivation, and the lack of on the spot testing tools for law enforcement. Local enforcers will always sniff the potential bust of a career and pursue similar cases, including DAs who imagine their next guaranteed promotion to shortly follow.
We as blockchain lovers will, obviously, immediately think of solutions like VeChain or EndChain, while states will most likely develop their own regulatory framework. Yet, more often than not, law enforcers will have to take the documentation at face value and career eagerness, as well as opposition to the legal status of hemp/cannabis, will always be the weakest cog in the chain.
It will be interesting to follow how most departments, distract attorneys, and even states, deal with these situations over the coming months and years. Of course, communities like Smoke and other cannabis focused platforms will eagerly report all errors and then, just like we do right now, celebrate with lots of glee and zealotism when the prosecutors are shown wrong.
Yet, that is not necessarily the best path forward as it will lead to more division and also more tax dollars wasted on more often than not cases with not sufficient ground to test all.
Of course, we all know the one and only true solution to fix this: federal descheduling and legalization of marijuana.
Marijuana tax revenue in 2017-18 in Colorado, via the Denver Post
But until that happens, despite great zeitgeist, many more tax dollars will be wasted down the drain. Rather than blown up in air on some good smoke, all while creating ever more new jobs in the industry and earning much needed taxes which can be spent on education, healthcare, and other needed social improvements.