An article at Politico goes into the worrying roots of much of the illicit marijuana in our country.
In illegal grows throughout Oklahoma, California, and Oregon, the presence of Chinese investment has reach new highs.
For instance, in Oklahoma, 3,000 of the 7,000 licensed farms have been flagged for suspicious activity, either by obtaining their licenses fraudulently or by selling to the illicit market along with the legal medicinal one. Of those 3,000, 2,000 of the farms are believed to have a Chinese connection. The Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics states that about 75% of the farms they shut down are from Chinese investors.
Farms selling to both illicit and legal markets is nothing new, especially in states such as California, where the tax rate is as high as 35%. Profit is much higher when selling illegally, and the market stays strong because of high prices in dispensaries.
But the chinese connection is new and murky. It’s unclear whether or not these investors are connected to the Chinese Communist Party. Per the Politico article, China has a strict anti-drug policy, but organized crime curry favor by working as enforcers for the government. So China typically turns a blind eye toward marijuana or fentanyl creation.
“This notion that you now have Chinese actual funding for illicit cannabis, it’s definitely new, and it cuts directly across the interests of Mexican drug trafficking groups,” said Vanda Felbab-Brown. “It’s interesting to see whether it continues growing, [and] how that’s going to affect relations between the Mexicans and the Chinese [criminal groups].”
Congress is acting fast, with one Republican Senator introducing the PASS Act, which would “limit the ability of investors or owners from China, Russia, North Korea and Iran to acquire American agricultural land and agribusinesses.”
This is surely an ongoing story with much more to decipher.
Read the original piece at Politico.