On Aug. 29, an Obama administration memo prompted intense speculation that the feds may be finally calling off the decades-long war on weed. While marijuana remains illegal under federal law, the memo stated, federal prosecutors won't intervene if states such as Colorado and Washington that legalized it for recreational use ensure that organized crime doesn't profit from these states' laws.
This, after a yearlong crackdown on California's medical weed industry in which countless dispensaries closed and landlords such as Anaheim's Tony Jalali were threatened with seizure of their buildings. In Jalali's case it was over a frivolous $37 pot sale, as Nick Schou reported in OC Weekly. And even now, Colorado authorities are seizing weed shipments.
Against this backdrop, Schou unveils in his new book released by Chicago Review Press, "The Weed Runners: Travels With the Outlaw Capitalists of America's Medical Marijuana Trade," that a seldom-acknowledged war between West Coast growers and increasingly canny Mexican cartel growers to supply this demand is growing ever more dangerous and bizarre. Stakes are high, with a pound of weed selling to an illegal dealer for four times what a legal dispensary will pay. Here's one surreal scene from his book: More »