Report: Colorado now a major exporter of illegal marijuana

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DENVER -- The amount of illegal marijuana from Colorado and seized elsewhere quadrupled in the past few years, according to a report by a network of law enforcement organizations.

The report found that in 2012, there were 274 seizures where the marijuana was destined for other states. In 2005, the number was 54.

The most common destinations for the marijuana were Kansas, Missouri, Illinois and Texas.

The size of the seizures also increased. From 2005 to 2008, the total average number of pounds seized was 2,220. From 2009 to 2012, it increased to 3,937.

Most of the marijuana came from Denver, Boulder and El Paso counties, the report found.

The report also found an increased number of people trying to mail marijuana through the U.S. Postal Service. In 2010, the Postal Service seized 15 packages with marijuana headed out of state. In 2012, they seized 158.

The report was written by the Rocky Mountain High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area, a network of law enforcement organizations in four western states that share information on drug-running patterns.

The report is preliminary and comes from data gathered by the Department of Justice's El Paso Intelligence Center. The center relies on law enforcement agencies to voluntarily report seizure information.

In addition to the marijuana seizure statistics, the report includes data on adult and teen use of marijuana, emergency room visits and fatal crashes related to marijuana. The report found increased levels in all these groups.

The report does not cover 2013, the year in which small amounts of marijuana became legal for adult consumption in Colorado.  In 2000, Colorado legalized marijuana for medicinal use.

Advocates for marijuana legalization have long argued that legalizing pot would actually decrease black market diversion by creating a regulated industry.

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