Earlier this month, Oregon State Police made what they are calling a record bust of illicit cannabis, and no matter where you stand on the unregulated marketplace, the chutzpah of those involved is impressive based solely the staggering volume of what was seized.
But it touches on a question as to exactly how the OSP values cannabis, especially when it’s being produced exclusively for the illicit market.
On April 11, OSP raided an illegal grow operation in Southern Oregon near Medford, after working for some time with other state and federal agencies. They arrested Gregory Martin Day, 24, of North Carolina, and I believe its fair to label Day as an “avid cannabis enthusiast.”
Exactly how avid are we talking?
Mr. Day was identified as the manager of the operation, and goodness, what an operation it was!
The OSP listed the following haul from their visit:
• 14,487 plants
• $557,488 in cash
• More than 1,000 pounds of psychedelic mushrooms
• 312 pounds of marijuana extract (that’s 141,648 one-gram dabs)
• 6,000 cartridges of butane honey oil marijuana extract
• Small amounts of LSD (oh good, some restraint)
• 29 firearms, including two fully automatic rifles, because nothing goes hand-in-hand with more than half a ton of psychedelics like a medium-sized arsenal
The numbers get interesting if a bit fuzzy from here.
The Medford Mail Tribune reports, “OSP estimates that if the 1,907 pounds of marijuana seized April 11 were fully processed, it would have carried a street value of $15 million.”
It isn’t made exactly clear if these are 1,907 pounds of finished, cured bud that was found in addition to the nearly 15,000 plants. But from the article, it sounds as though the OSP made those estimates based on the bud still on the plant.
Furthermore, “processed” is a vague term, too—as in trimmed and processed off the plants, or processed into more vape cartridges and dabs?
Investigators believed the products were being shipped and sold in Kansas and Illinois, where prices are certainly higher than in Oregon.
But for the 1,907 pounds of flower to have a street value of $15 million, that would make each pound worth approximately $7,866, or nearly $500 per ounce, which are certainly not the prices paid in Oregon’s regulated programs.
One also wonders about all that firepower—was it to keep all the people at bay who wanted some weed, because where else in Oregon would they find any otherwise?
Condolences to those in Kansas and Illinois who don’t understand why Day hasn’t yet texted them back about their orders.