America’s narcs seem to have an awful lot of time on their hands. That may explain why cops have resorted to busting dealers on Craigslist.

Jeremy James WallaceAn Arizona man was arrested in May after police noticed an ad he posted for marijuana and hash oil. Cops replied to the post and set up a sting. Jeremy James Wallace, a 30-year-old Mesa, Ariz. resident, was charged with possession of narcotics for sale, possession of marijuana for sale, possession of narcotics, and driving on a revoked license.

Police said the officer who replied to the ad offered $550 for pot and arranged to meet Wallace May 19. Wallace was arrested as he tried to leave the deal site in his car.

Cops searched Wallace during his arrest and said they found a green, leafy substance and a cannabis wax. Police said they also smelled marijuana in Wallace’s car and learned his driver’s license was suspended.

Active pot market on Craigslist

It isn’t unusual for narcs to bust people selling pot on Craigslist. In states such as Arizona, where weed laws are especially harsh, the classified site provides law enforcement with a handy trap. Dealers are seeking business from strangers, and that makes it easier to lure those sellers into stings.

But the pointlessness of the exercise may suggest drug cops in this country are getting desperate. Pot markets on Craigslist work far more often than they fail. Police catch only a very small portion of the site’s dealers, and the vast majority of buyers have little trouble.

And that’s the secret of Craigslist that every American cannabis dealer knows: It’s an ideal place for drug transactions. There’s a regular, growing customer base there, the administrators mostly overlook pot postings, and there is typically no risk for either party until the actual meet.

Safer in decriminalized states

marijuana arrestThis works particularly well in states where marijuana is decriminalized. Ironically, it may be harder to get away with these deals in states where the drug is legal. That’s because authorities want to contain weed sales to the legal market.

But in states where cannabis possession is punishable only by a civil fine, Craigslist serves as an effective black market. It also removes the age-old necessity of knowing someone who knows someone.

Usually it’s a safe alternative to the street. Buyers face little risk, since it makes little sense for police to chase a larger pool of users when they could chase a smaller pool of dealers.

Those sellers face much greater risk, since selling marijuana is typically a felony. But even they don’t have much to worry about in most places. Arranging a pot deal through Craigslist in places like New York, California, and Minnesota is as easy as buying a used printer.

Still, some cops still see Craigslist as an effective way to snare low-level dealers. Wallace apparently fell into that web. He faces a substantial amount of prison time under Arizona cannabis laws; even simple possession of concentrates is a felony there.

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