7 robberies of Maine ‘legal pot’ shops since last June, trend follows California crime wave
By ‘John R. Ryan’
(Note: the author, a northern California resident, writes under a pen name, in order to protect himself and his family. Vermont retail pot stores will open late this year or early next year.)
We live up in God’s country, in the northern part of California, well north of the sprawling metropolises of Mammon. Mainly rural, sparsely populated, it used to be quiet and safe, an area of extraordinary natural beauty and diversity, and full of wonderful down-to-earth people.
That is, it was God’s country. But something has changed. We are under attack. Now we are witnessing shocking murders, mutilations and wholesale disappearances. There is a new gold rush on (a “green rush”), and organized crime is on the forefront of capitalizing on it.
There are now tens of thousands of illegal cannabis grow sites in Northern California, manned by many thousands of (mainly foreign) workers (and many in the southern part of the state as well.) They operate under the “protection” of sophisticated well-organized drug gangs and cartels, who have come here from all over the world.
Few Americans understand what is going on. California is on the verge of becoming an irreversible narcostate, where politicians take orders from their underworld bosses, just like in Sinaloa, Mexico. We are hoping this story will begin to be told.
Since the decision to rampantly commercialize cannabis, beginning with California’s first-in-the nation Medical Marijuana law in 1993, and then followed in 2016 complete legalization, we have seen something the naïve did not predict: our region is becoming major hub of organized crime.
In an extremely ironic twist of fate, where Alcohol Prohibition kickstarted the conversion of small-time criminal protection and gambling rackets into highly sophisticated syndicated transnational criminal organizations, like the mafia, it is the legalization of marijuana which is doing exactly the same thing. Unbelievable, but true.
“Businesses were told to join the syndicate. Those that cooperated were protected and prospered. Those that did not cooperate were robbed, their inventory stolen, their facilities destroyed, and if necessary, their leaders killed. This is happening with American cannabis today: the cartels called, and they want their market back.” – ‘John. R. Ryan’
A pot shop “burglary” was reported in the Portland, Maine Press Herald on March 20. Simple “burglary“ may not be the appropriate label. We have ample evidence to suggest that the rash of pot store knockoffs, at least here in California, is organized criminal activity. The sophisticated transnational syndicates, who have owned the drug trade forever, are reasserting their power, Putin style, to ensure they continue to monopolize and dominate the drug trade. They intend to wrest it out of the hands of the so-called “legal“ operators.
These are the exact tactics that Al Capone used to corner the illegal alcohol market during Prohibition. (Except, this is happening not during the Alcohol Prohibition Era, but during the Cannabis Legalization Era.) Capone successfully carried out the syndication and organizational tactics that John D. Rockefeller (founder of Standard Oil) invented, pioneered and ruthlessly implemented to entirely dominate and monopolize the oil industry.
Rockefeller founded the modern oil refining industry, which for years was monopolized under his control. Capone did the same for the mob, monopolizing alcohol from Chicago to Florida. (Rockefeller called his creation “our little thing” and he cried when the Justice Department made him break it up into 34 different oil companies in 1911, many of them still called Standard Oil, and which eventually became Exxon, Mobil, Chevron, Amoco, Humble, Esso, Marathon, Pennzoil, etc.) Ironically, Capone and his mafia associates also called their syndicate “la cosa nostra” –in English, “our thing”.)
The tactics and the objectives were identical: elimination of harmful competition, by any means necessary. Businesses were told to join the syndicate. Sometimes above the table, sometimes below, sub rosa. Those that cooperated were protected and prospered, but they bought the syndicate’s product, and they did the syndicate’s bidding. Those that did not cooperate were robbed, their inventory stolen, their facilities destroyed, and if necessary, their leaders killed. This is happening with American cannabis today: the cartels called, and they want their market back.
Capone monopolized the alcohol industry by ruthless tactics. Before he entered the scene, there was a massive overproduction and illicit alcohol competition, with the Irish gangs and the Jewish gangs and the Italian gangs and others all competing with each other. He exterminated most of them, and the rest “decided” to cooperate. He had on his payroll the majority of the politicians and police in Chicago and neighboring cities. It was extremely unhealthy to stand up to Al Capone (or to John D. Rockefeller, for that matter.) And politicians didn’t see anything to gain in being against something that people wanted. Sound familiar?
In other words, you are not simply seeing small time pot burglaries. You are seeing organized crime targeting your small town. Don’t send out the same small-town cops that you have settling domestic disputes and getting cats out of trees. If your little Police Department doesn’t have an anti-organized crime task force, which of course it doesn’t, you need one. And you will need a citizen oversight committee, to monitor for corruption and bribe-taking on the part of local officials. Welcome to the real world of so-called legal cannabis: the new Cannabis Legalization Era.
Political legalization, robber baron red-in-tooth-and-claw laissez-faire crony capitalist monetization, social legitimization, Wall Street financialization and Madison Avenue promotion have all combined and worked together to turbocharge and grow the cannabis market for the benefit of the Black Market and the legal market alike.
New and novel high-potency products have been developed, mainly very attractive to youth, such as candy-flavored “edibles” and flavored vapes. Add to this a collection of super-potency preparations such as budder, shatter, dabs, wax and honey oil, all targeted to youth, and all innovative products of the legal market. Youth use has exploded, which has also exploded the naïve myth (or intentional lie) that drugs from the legal stores would never reach the under-21 market. (C’mon man, that’s malarky. Pot has always found its way to kids, and it always will. Pot has always been a teen drug.)
Potency has increased dramatically, in an arms race for market share. In fact, the drug available today, modern high-potency cannabis, is a man-made synthetic narcotic that has been scientifically hybridized, crossbred and engineered, and bears absolutely no resemblance to natural wild grown marijuana (which has disappeared from the market entirely). It is, in fact, a totally different drug chemically from marijuana, and is radically more potent. In 2016 we voted for the Adult Use of Marijuana. What we got was the Youth Abuse of Modern Hi-Po Cannabis. Massive bait and switch.
As a result of all this innovation, the cost of the major psychoactive component in cannabis, THC, has dropped like a rock. THC today sells for about 4% of the price that it sold for in the ’70’s. That is, there has been a 96% price reduction. Of course, all of these things turbocharged cannabis demand.
They promised us that if we legalized pot, the Black Market would disappear. What has actually happened is that the Black Market has gotten bigger and stronger, perversely, due to legalization.
Economic theory says a legal market and an illegal market cannot exist side-by-side. One must cannibalize the other. The lower cost supplier wins.
When Prohibition ended in 1933, legal alcohol displaced the speakeasy by significantly lowering prices and improving quality. (The price of beer had risen by 700% under prohibition, liquor was expensive, awful, and frequently toxic.).
We never set out to make legal cannabis less expensive than Black Market cannabis. That would be frankly impossible. So, we never should have expected that it would somehow extinguish the Black Market. That was either a naïve pipe dream, or a lie.
Legal cannabis is and always will be more expensive, due to extensive regulatory requirements, let alone taxes. And you cannot sell a potent intoxicant without regulatory requirements. Legal cannabis, of necessity, must always be costly. And the Black Market, of necessity, will always undercut the legal market on price. They have no intention of rolling over and playing dead and letting these new cannabis capitalists simply walk away with their market share.
And ironically again, not even the supposedly higher quality of “legal” storefront cannabis can be assured. The legal outlets readily admit they source cannabis from the illegal grows, which we know to be full of toxic pesticides, glues, rodenticides, heavy metals and fungus, etc. Plus adulterated with other drugs, including fentanyl. Unsafe at any speed. And there is no mechanism to enforce purity or quality. The state of California cannot police the upstream cannabis supply chain; that is an impossible task for anyone, and they do not even try.
The Black Market is winning, and will win. So, what comes next? The above-the-table supply chain and distribution networks and pot storefronts of the “legal“ cannabis market are ripe for takeover. They are a made-to-order takeover target for organized crime. A sitting duck. They are to be influenced, intimidated, infiltrated, controlled and eventually turned into semi-legal front organizations (with two sets of books, phony pot analyses and phony pot source documentation, and hidden underworld bosses). This is the typical playbook of the so-called RICO, or “racketeering influenced or controlled organization”.
Thus, the so-called “legal“ storefront in your quiet suburban neighborhood is actually (or will be) an outpost for organized crime, connected to some of the most violent and ruthless people on the planet. They will source illegally grown product of dubious quality (90% of California pot is contaminated, often with very harmful toxins.) Customers will come there to ask about other drugs, and they will be told where they can get them, which helpfully is part of the same syndicate.
The pot shop owners, ostensibly legal, will start to call your city councilmen and ask for (or demand) more pot stores, more liquor stores, more bars, more “massage parlors“ and more of the kinds of allied adult businesses that organized crime controls or influences, even strip clubs. Then, sooner or later, they will support their own candidates for City Council, and fund them liberally. All legal.
Smart politicians will understand it is not good for their health to stand against these people. This is how the idyllic little city of Bedford Falls turns into POTtersville, in the iconic movie, “It’s a Wonderful Life” with Jimmy Stewart. And you think that can’t happen here. Well, your city councilmembers have children, too.
The dubious cannabis sold in the “legal stores“ will come from (and is today coming from) illegal, unregulated, toxic, contaminated, environmentally disasterous grow sites. This is already so rampant in California that the legal stores readily admit it. (They say they are forced to, for economic reasons. They do not mention that if they refuse to cooperate, very bad things will happen to them or their children).
This is not my imagination. Last year the boss of the Sinaloa cartels explained to the press exactly this strategy. They are going to coopt the legal market. (You need to understand that in Mexico, the cartels run the country, and their leaders give press conferences, just like politicians do.)
Legal cannabis has turbocharged the cartels Into a malevolent force, which is already beginning to make its presence felt in California, in a very big way. California is headed the same way as Mexico: it will become an irreversible Narcostate, with highly powerful underworld bosses giving orders to the politicians, on the Plata o Plomo model (silver or lead). It is an offer you simply do not want to refuse. The astonishing growth of this cancer is a clear and present danger to American society, equally as dangerous and destructive as modern hi-po cannabis is to youth.
Today we have massive overproduction of cannabis, both from the legal and illegal market, and adding to this, the new entrant from out of left field: industrial hemp growers, who are turning dirt cheap hemp into psychoactive synthetic THC analogs, such as “delta eight”, etc. (All completely legally, due to a loophole in the 2018 Farm Bill).
This is a market ripe for coordination and consolidation, in order to suppress harmful competition.
California is becoming a narcostate. It is hard to see how this trend can be reversed. Politicians cooperate with organized crime, just as they do with other special interests. It is very profitable to do so, and it is very hazardous and risky to do otherwise. Anyone who thinks otherwise is very naïve and gullible. Thus, the authorities may not help us. There are much bigger and darker forces at work on them. If you live in another state, maybe you have time to do something about it.
Once this cartel cancer is entrenched, cannabis will only be the first thing. The legalizers never intended to stop there. It is only the tip of the spear. There is too much money to be made on every other drug and vice. The cartels will give the orders to Sacramento, and eventually every narcotic and vice will be legal, including anything they can make money on (the “allied adult businesses” such as prostitution, which they are already talking about legalizing in California, along with “psychedelics” such as LSD).
What CAN we do? We must understand what is going on. And ultimately we must turn our attention towards “telling our children.“ We have to tell them that society has failed them. The crony capitalist profit-driven businessmen, and their Madison Avenue advertisers, and the greedy politicians in their pockets, all telling our children that drugs are medicine, drugs are good for you, and drugs are a growth business that will generate tax revenues to fill potholes and pensions, etc., have all failed them. Everyone has failed them and everyone has lied to them, for money. Of course, for money.
This is our children’s world now. They will have to fix it. We need to speak directly to them, like adults. We need to tell them the truth. Drugs are not part of the solution. Drugs are part of the problem. Of course, this also includes the drug most used by youth: modern hi-po cannabis, the “innocent little drug” that has quietly launched the new takeover of America by organized crime.