WKRN (NASHVILLE) – Nashville drug agents say the legalization of marijuana in western states is having a serious impact on the amount of illegal drugs coming into Tennessee.
Pot is legal in Colorado and Washington State, while medical marijuana is legal in California.
Narcotic agents told News 2 the price of marijuana started to go down after the drug was legalized.
This led to pot growers mailing pot or driving east to capitalize on higher prices for the same drug.
For example, a pound of pot in Tennessee could cost four times what it does in Colorado.
The Metro Interdiction Agency said they frequently stop west coast drivers who have pot they bought legally in that part of the country.
“Numerous times we stop people with marijuana, and they hand me their medical marijuana license and that is a hollow document here. It doesn’t mean anything,’” stated an interdiction officer.
Officials arrested a Washington State native Tuesday for having 61 pounds of high grade marijuana in his trunk.
Daniel Barton, 57, was stopped near Joelton and booked into the Metro jail on $76,000 bond.
“He was almost shocked. He would say things like, ‘It’s legal where I am from. I can’t believe it’s illegal here,” said a Metro interdiction officer.
News 2 learned that Barton’s arrest prompted a search of his Snohomish County home in Washington State.
A task force found approximately 150 marijuana plants that Barton reportedly cultivated on his property.
The plants were worth an estimated $400,000.
According to Washington drug agents, Barton has a medical marijuana license as a patient, which allows him to own 15 plants.
Authorities said Barton knowingly transported marijuana to Tennessee with the intent to resell it in the illegal drug market.
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