Transporting marijuana across state lines is a federal offense punishable by five to 40 years in prison and up to $1 million in fines, depending on the amount and other aggravating factors.
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But if multiple raids in Pueblo County are an indication, most offenders caught in Colorado with large illegal cannabis grows apparently destined for out-of-state rarely see jail time.
Among the 37 people arrested in Pueblo raids this year, most have been offered plea deals for lesser drug charges and sentences of, at most, three years probation, a Gazette review of records shows. Other cases in which suspects have been indicted in federal District Court may yet yield more stringent punishment, the review found.
Pueblo County Sheriff Kirk Taylor said the state doesn’t need harsh sentences to deter criminals. Any conviction will help close the loophole in the medical marijuana law that allows criminals to hide in plain sight, he said. This is a guise in which an ostensible medical marijuana operation is producing for the black market.