In Seattle Area, Vietnamese-Americans Getting in on Marijuana Farming
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“I don’t think there will be a solution. It’s a source of revenue for a lot of people. The whole argument about legalization doesn’t address the type of organizations you’re dealing with. These organizations are basically criminal in nature,” Tran says.
But the increasingly “marijuana-friendly” climate in Seattle has influenced the growers’ strategy regarding the selling of their product. Because of the legalization of medical marijuana in Seattle, more drug organizations are looking to push their product out of state.
The legalization of medical marijuana “will probably impact the smaller local organizations because users will go through legal manufacturers,” said Tran. “A lot of distributors are not selling here but more across the country. Some of the more organized groups are not affected.”
More Vietnamese representation in drug enforcement could help curtail the difficulties in penetrating the Vietnamese crime organizations. In addition, if the community helps to meet the economic needs of immigrants, especially in light of recent proposed budget cuts, these would-be growers would think twice about turning to illegal means for money and instead turn to positive opportunities.
While this reasoning shouldn’t justify the decisions and actions of a small group of participants and organizers, the hope is to create awareness of the risk and desperation many immigrants face. In addition, the hope is to draw attention to federal, state and local law enforcement that it is the upper-level organizers who should be sought out; and to legislators and community leaders to support the positive advancement of immigrant communities and offer opportunities for success.