A California-To-Connecticut Pot Pipeline
Like modern-day gold rushers, marijuana dealers in Connecticut have found a lucrative enterprise in the West.
Local, state and federal law enforcement officials agree that tons of high quality pot from California is being sold here at a huge markup.
Brian Boyle, regional supervisor for the federal Drug Enforcement Administration, said as much as 75 percent of the marijuana sold in Connecticut comes from California.
“There’s a lot of money to be made,” Boyle said, “so the reward is greater than the risk.”
Within the past seven years, less marijuana has been coming across the border from Mexico. Drug cartels have learned that growing their crop illegally in the U.S., particularly in California and other West Coast states — where recreational use is legal, the climate is ideal and law enforcement scrutiny is relatively lax — carries far less risk and the chance for greater profits.
A study by California’s food and agriculture department found that in 2016, state growers produced at least 13.5 million pounds of marijuana, five times more than the 2.5 million pounds Californians consumed. The rest, experts say, was shipped out of state.
California began licensing marijuana farms and sales on Jan. 1, and license holders already have been complaining about black-market pot undercutting their business.
Part of the California-to-Connecticut pot pipeline was exposed recently with a bust in Manchester that netted 70 pounds of premium weed. Police say the pot was worth $300,000, or about $4,300 a pound. After a story about the seizure ran in early February, a Courant reader said the cops’ street value estimate was wildly exaggerated, but Manchester police Sgt. Matthew Pace said, “I can assure you, I get nothing from grossly exaggerating numbers.”
“I have been in proffers with private attorneys and (U.S. district attorneys) where dealers explain in