DENVER (CBS4)– Drug enforcement officers believe Colorado is on the brink of becoming the epicenter for illegal pot sales.
They are investigating whether medical marijuana obtained at dispensaries across the state may be heading across state lines into illegal drug deals.
Marijuana seized in Virginia and New York has been tied to dispensaries in Colorado.
Law enforcement said medical marijuana in Colorado has made it easier for drug sales across the country and is making their fight against drugs tougher because so many more people can obtain marijuana.
North Metro Drug Task Force agents conducted a marijuana bust in April that resulted in seized drugs, guns and cash.
“This is the first time in history that I’ve ever heard of a drug in Colorado that it fuels the market in other states,” said North Metro Drug Task Force Sgt. Jim Gerhardt.
Gerhardt said the medical marijuana industry has given drug dealers a new avenue to obtain marijuana. The source of the drugs casts a wide net.
“It can be anything. A shady dispensary owner selling out of the back door. It can be a patient who is buying legitimately. There are a thousand different ways people get their hands on Colorado marijuana,” said Gerhardt.
Gerhardt said marijuana grown for the industry is being diverted out of the state and onto the black market. He said part of the reason is because there is so much.
“There’s a tendency of some owners because they don’t have enough customers to buy what they have on hand. There’s a temptation to divert it to places it shouldn’t go because it is profitable,” said Gerhardt.
Law enforcement officers accuse the medical marijuana industry of running wild and unregulated.
Industry supporters disagree.
“As the most regulated industry in Colorado, we applaud the efforts of law enforcement to prevent illegal distribution,” said Medical Marijuana Industry Group spokesman Michael Elliott.
The Department of Revenue oversees the regulation of medical marijuana. Although the department acknowledged the findings of the seizure of medical marijuana in other states, it would not comment on specifics.