So, that’s why you never received that dank package you were waiting for. The number of cannabis packages intercepted in U.S. mail rose by 18.4 percent in the fiscal 2016 year.
While some anti-legalization advocates are using that info to decry cannabis legalization, the data does not bear that out. Other downward trends in cannabis mail policing suggest that’s not the case, and show the pronounced increase of marijuana concentrates’ presence in the market as well.
The fiscal 2016 year, which began in October 2015, showed an increase in other controlled substances as well, 11.6 percent for non-cannabis drugs, as reported by U.S. News & World Report.
Still, non-420 friendly advocates like the ones at Smart Approaches to Marijuana see this data as fuel for their anti-cannabis legalization fire. “Despite promises made by the marijuana legalization lobby, the black market for marijuana continues to thrive,” says Kevin Sabet of SAM.
Cannabis, Sabet says, is “an issue of public health and safety that cannot be contained within geographic borders. The promise of a controlled, regulated market has failed to materialize.”
For those of you who don’t know what SAM is, they are a bunch of clowns who are fairly prominent in the anti-weed world. According to their website, SAM “envisions a society where… the commercialization and normalization of marijuana are no more.” After the tragedy of the Orlando shootings last year, one of their chapter heads compared marijuana use to gun violence as a public health hazard.
There are a few problems with Sabet’s correlation between an uptick in cannabis detection in the mail and the increasing legality of marijuana across the country. For one thing, the rise seen in 2016 followed two consecutive years of decreasing cannabis mail intercepts. 2015 and 2014 saw a greater increase in legal markets than 2016 did (Oregon had the only new recreational market) and the bevy of new states with legal programs from last year’s election occurred after the fiscal 2017 year began.
For another thing, though the number of intercepted weed packages rose, the overall amount of weed detected in the mail fell last year. This could mean that though cannabis packages are getting smaller, law enforcement is getting better through increased cooperation between agencies and more sophisticated tactics.
One explanation for the decreased weight of detected packages is the greater popularity of concentrates. U.S. News theorized that it could be attributed to “an increase in potent concentrates and extracts that can be added to edible products or ‘vape pens.’”
Photo via Flickr user Matt Spiel