Legalizing cannabis could help undermine ISIS and other international crime organizations, officials in Italy have said. According to those officials, one of the ways ISIS gets money is by smuggling cannabis and hashish. The group apparently moves drugs through parts of Africa, the Middle East, and Europe.
“Certainly controls the Libya route,” said Franco Roberti.
Roberti is the head of Italy’s anti-Mafia and anti-terrorism unit.
“Decriminalization or even legalization would definitely be a weapon against traffickers, among whom there could be terrorists who make money off of it.”
Roberti said that ISIS isn’t working alone when it comes to smuggling cannabis.
His office has been investigating possible links between ISIS and the Italian Mafia. They began looking into the issue back in February 2015.
So far it looks like Roberti’s team hasn’t reached any final conclusions. But earlier today he told the media that he has reason to think such a link might exist.
This isn’t the first time there have been headlines about ISIS and cannabis.
Back in December, a video surfaced of an ISIS group burning cannabis fields in northern Syria.
And at the beginning of this year there was another report about ISIS being involved with cannabis. But this time they weren’t destroying fields.
Sources said that ISIS had taken over Mafia owned cannabis farms in Albania. According to those sources ISIS is now pulling in billions of dollars from its Albanian marijuana racket.
A huge portion of that marijuana goes to the British black market.
“The sooner we legalize cannabis, the sooner we take away £4 billion from them,” one commentator said.
This commentator’s response is directly in line with what Roberti had to say earlier today. Both make the case that legalizing cannabis will harm ISIS by taking away a big source of its funding.
And there already seems to be evidence that making cannabis legal decreases drug crime. That’s exactly what’s been happening in the United States.
The latest data from the DEA shows that legal cannabis is doing what the war on drugs couldn’t. Since marijuana has become legal in more states, there has been less marijuana coming into the country from other places.
There were fewer marijuana seizures at the southwest border in 2015 than any other year in the last decade. And U.S. law enforcement seized 1.5 million pounds of marijuana at the border. That number is down from 4 million pounds in 2009.
Many analysts have said that the reason for the drop in numbers has to do with the fact that legal cannabis is becoming easier to get in the U.S.
If that trend holds up, Roberti could really be on to something.
(Photo Credit: DailyBeast)