Marijuana is a dirty drug. “Marijuana concentrates” (aka “THC extractions”), ranging up to 80% tetrahydrocannabinol, are even dirtier.
The primary psychoactive compound in marijuana, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), has been directly linked to numerous mental and physiological health problems in users, particularly in children and youth. (Source: Smart Approaches to Marijuana, “Lessons Learned from Legalization of Marijuana in Four U.S. States and D.C., March 2018”).
The National Institute on Drug Abuse has further warned, “70% of today’s illicit drug users started with marijuana, not prescription drugs.”
The marijuana industry is comprised powerful big business enterprises, along with a thriving undercurrent of black market growers and dealers. Their goal is to maximize profits, at the expense of South Dakota citizens, by expanding their marijuana user base and promoting immoderate indulgence.
According to NBC News, “foreign cartels” are finding new profit streams by setting up “black-market marijuana” operations in states that have legalized cannabis. “Chinese, Cuban and Mexican drug rings have purchased or rented hundreds of homes and use human trafficking to bring inexperienced growers to the United States to tend them, federal and local officials say.” (Source: NBC News, May 29, 2018, “Foreign cartels embrace home-grown marijuana in pot-legal states”).
These foreign cartels are specifically targeting states that have already legalized marijuana “in an attempt to shroud their operations in our legal environment here and then take the marijuana outside of the state,” according to Mike Hartman, executive director of the Colorado Department of Revenue, which regulates and licenses the cannabis industry.
Sheriff Bill Elder, El Paso County Sheriff’s Office in Colorado, affirmed these trends, “While California and Washington have mainly seen organized criminals from China buying homes and converting them into grow houses, Colorado has largely been grappling with Cuban and Mexican-led cartels…. They have found that it’s easier to grow and process marijuana in Colorado, ship it throughout the United States, than it is to bring it from Mexico or Cuba.”
South Dakotans should reject the two November ballot initiatives that would open up our state to big money marijuana syndicates and the inevitable coat-tail expansion of black-market operations.