Marijuana

Mailing Marijuana Out of Colorado: How Likely Are You to Get Caught?


Colorado marijuana continues to be treated like the boogie man by media organizations around the country — and at least one law-enforcement group based here is happy to aid in that process.

For proof, look no further than a new report from ABC7 in Chicago headlined "MAILING MARIJUANA: OFFICIALS REPORT SPIKE IN POT-LADEN PACKAGES."

The piece maintains that a large volume of cannabis is regularly sent through the U.S. mail to other states in violation of federal law, much of it from Colorado — with supporting information contributed by Tom Gorman of the Rocky Mountain High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area.

Over the years, the Denver-based RMHIDTA has issued a series of sky-is-falling studies about the dangers of marijuana; the most recent one arrived in September. And while critics tend to dismiss the group's data as unscientific, biased and agenda-driven, far-flung news organizations such as ABC7 Chicago frequently accept it at face value.



The station reports that the U.S. Postal Service handles more than 155 billion pieces of mail per annum, with a billion-plus going through Chicago.

Of that total, just shy of 8,000 packages containing marijuana were seized in 2014; they cumulatively contained approximately 40,000 pounds of cannabis or cannabis-related products.

How many of them originated in Colorado? ABC7 doesn't have those figures, but it does quote RMHIDTA info suggesting that "the amount of intercepted mail containing Colorado marijuana destined for other states has increased over 2,000 times from 2010-2014."


Gorman also appears on camera to site a favorite theme of Smart Colorado, another group concerned about easy access to marijuana — the potency of our homegrown weed.

"Colorado marijuana is very desirable," Gorman maintains.


As for the number of marijuana-laden packages from Colorado that aren't being found by authorities, Gorman offers the roughest of rough estimates: "We're only probably getting 10 percent or less, so 90 percent is going through," he allows.

To reinforce this theme, ABC7 cites "several people who said they have sent marijuana in the mail from Colorado. They did not want to be identified, but said they have never been caught."

Will this kind of rhetoric inspire more people to mail pot, despite the otherwise scary tone of the ABC 7 item? Perhaps not, given the mention of Ryan Bailey, an Illinois man sentenced to three years behind bars for arranging to have seven pounds of marijuana mailed to him from Colorado.

But we can certainly imagine some folks seeing a 90-percent-plus chance of success as representing pretty good odds.

Here's the ABC7 report.



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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts