(NBC News) Colorado authorities have carried out their first large-scale marijuana bust since the drug was legalized in their state.
Recreational use of marijuana has been legal in Colorado since 2014. It took only a few months for sales to top a half billion dollars.
Dozens of dispensaries popped up. It was even possible to buy pot at a drive-through.
The state’s new law a source of civic pride to some.
“It has been an incredible experiment and I’m really proud that Colorado stepped up to the plate and, and let the experiment happen,” says Evergreen Apothecary co-owner Tim Cullen.
But authorities say legal marijuana in Colorado has not ended illegal trafficking in the state.
The state attorney general announcing the largest pot bust since the drug was legalized.
“The defendants are alleged to have overseen a massive illegal marijuana distribution and cultivation network that laundered millions of dollars,” said attorney general Cynthia H. Coffman.
A grand jury indicted 62 people and a dozen businesses. Authorities say the defendants posed as part of the state’s legitimate marijuana industry.
“This was their cover as they trafficked thousands of pounds of marijuana out of the state,” Coffman explained.
Authorities say this case is “a prime example of how the black market has not gone away with the legalization of medical and recreational marijuana.”
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