Colo. pot smuggled out of state by mail in record numbers

(Map: Courtesy Office of National Drug Control Policy)
<p>This map shows where parcels containing marijuana have been seized.</p>


More marijuana than ever was smuggled out of Colorado through the mail last year, made easier by the growing popularity of edibles, according to a new analysis by law enforcement.

Authorities report they seized nearly 500 pounds of pot destined for other states in 2013, an 88 percent increase over the previous year, and a 623 percent increase from 2011. The report does not include 2014 when recreational pot stores opened to anyone 21 and over.

The report, compiled by a regional division of the Office of National Drug Control Policy, says the amount of intercepted marijuana is likely just the “tip of the iceberg,” since most marijuana is likely getting past authorities.

“The face of marijuana has changed,” Kevin Wong, an analyst with the office, says, “to the point where it’s become edibles and baked goods, it’s easier to disguise and utilize postal delivery services.”

The top destination states for Colorado’s pot packages are Florida, Maryland, and Illinois.

Cars are still the number one way to smuggle marijuana out of Colorado, according to the report, which partly draws on data voluntarily submitted by various law enforcement agencies. Last year, authorities seized 3,690 pounds of marijuana, a 33 percent increase from 2012.

The vast majority of marijuana was transported by car eastward. The largest number of pot seizures was in Missouri, where 41 were reported in 2013. The next closest state is Texas with 18.

The report predicts that the amount of marijuana, in pounds, will decrease in coming years, as highly potent marijuana oils, waxes, and edibles are easier to hide and are more lucrative for traffickers.