Upper Darby Pot Deliveries Display Abject Futility Of War on Drugs
In the past week, Upper Darby law enforcement officials received two phone calls from citizens who received unsolicited packages in the mail. Inside these packages were 5 pounds of brickweed - low quality, highly compressed marijuana. The police then picked up the shipment and brought it in for evidence, citing that since the return address was fake, there is little chance they will find the person who really sent it.
As reported by 6ABC
Upper Darby Police Superintendent Michael Chitwood says the department sees about a half-dozen similar deliveries a year and can sometimes track down the sender. Previous shipments have included cocaine and heroin.As Red Forman Would Say: "Dumbass!"
Police say this appears to have been a "trial run" by some sophisticated drug traffickers. They were likely testing how sharp law enforcement and high volume mail outfits are, as they tracked this shipment by computer for delivery date and time.
"Five pounds? These guys probably have thousands of pounds," said Chitwood.
Chitwood went on to explain that someone was likely scouting the neighborhood, waiting for the package.
"They'll see the delivery truck, they'll go up on the porch, they'll sign, and they'll walk away."
Federal agencies have joined the investigation into the source of this marijuana.
Whatever the source of the marijuana, it seems highly unlikely that stopping the shipments from this specific source will have any appreciable impact. Chief Chitwood seems to be well aware of this, yet is still insisting on pushing full steam ahead with the enforcement of prohibition policies rather than pushing for a change in policy which would actually result in an end to this kind of abuse of the US mail system. Who would want to go through all the trouble of sending marijuana through the USPS in this manner if there were a better option? As Red Forman would say, "only a dumbass!"
When you have a highly demanded and relatively harmless commodity and force its commerce underground, its price and worth artificially skyrocket. People will take measures to ensure that their marijuana is delivered and received, even if those measures require the use of a gun. That seems to be the standard modus operandi of the cartels in Mexico, where the death toll since 2006 has reached over 35,000
, and where mass graves are now the norm. The two couples who received these packages had every right to be scared that the sender or receiver would come looking for either the marijuana or the money it's worth.A Better Option?
Marijuana advocates have been pushing for a better policy for years, one that would help avoid situations such as this. Many options have been put forward: decriminalize possession and use but make it illegal to sell; allow it only for medical use, and leave all other uses illegal; legalize and regulate it for all adults, with restrictions on sales to minors, to name just a few. While the PA Senate and House of Representatives debate and vote on SB1003 - the medical marijuana bill
- meant to protect the most vulnerable people who use cannabis, the remainder of the people who use it will remain unprotected by law. Even a decriminalization law would be a step forward, but would fall short of preventing unlawful use of the USPS or regulating any aspect of how or where cannabis is sold.
A regulated system, such as what we have in place for tobacco or alcohol, would be far better suited to marijuana than our current system. Imagine the following situation: A regular old delivery truck rolls down the street, going about its daily deliveries. It stops off at the corner store, a relatively new shop which has become popular and whose owners give back to the community. The days load - 12 pounds of various strains of high grade marijuana, all labeled for quality and potency. Inside the store, people purchase their marijuana from a counter, and the cashier will card you to make sure you're over 18. Not only are there written records of what's being sold, but the trucker didn't have to skip weigh-in stations to avoid being arrested and having their cargo confiscated. The marijuana was not compressed into nasty looking bricks which destroy and degrade the end-product and shipped anonymously to random houses via USPS to avoid being found - instead, the product is packaged properly so there is no degradation, contamination, or destruction, the police don't care about the marijuana because it's all on the level, and it was sent the same way any other highly demanded commodity is shipped. Instead of that marijuana being sold tax-free, state and local sales tax could have been applied, helping raise millions of dollars to help offset the widening budget gap that the PA Legislature has been trying to close.
So we're presented with a conundrum: keep our current system which has no regulation and leaves all decisions regarding quality, potency, sales, and cultivation up to criminals who have to keep all their activity underground; or move to a system which brings all that to the forefront and puts simple, easy to follow regulations on the books. All we have to do is look to Mexico to see just how well their drug war is going, with mass graves and tens of thousands of dead citizens. Will America be allowed to become like Mexico because the elected officials in our country are too spineless to do something about it?A New Hope?
Thankfully for those who are hoping for a serious change in US policy, not all elected officials are so spineless. US Representative Jared Polis (D-Colorado) intends to introduce legislation authored in concert with NORML National which would legalize marijuana on a Federal level. While the full language of this bill is incomplete, it will be a great step forward as the issue gains steam and spurs debate both inside and outside of the halls of Congress. If it passes and helps stop the arrest of people who use or sell it, and stops the unorthodox but necessary methods that drug dealers currently use to ensure their product arrives where it's supposed to, then it can be considered a success.
As Fox29 reported
Police say incidents like this aren't rare, you might not even know that your address is being used because it typically happens when you're not home.
"In this day and age you don't know what's arriving in the mail.. It could be a bomb, it could be drugs, it could be legit, you just don't know," says police chief Michael Chitwood.
Until that time, Chief Chitwood and the USPS can count on more packages of marijuana being sent illegally through the mail, violating the Commerce Clause and other policies the US Government claims give it the right to regulate marijuana. And ninety-nine times out of one hundred, these packages get through to their recipients on-schedule right under the nose of local and Federal law enforcement agencies. Reality is reality, no matter how much they'd like to pretend otherwise. It doesn't have to be this way; the sad part is just how easy it would be to make it right.