Indiana police dog finds millions of dollars worth of marijuana in routine traffic stop: police

Indiana police dog finds millions of dollars worth of marijuana in routine traffic stop: police
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Indiana State Police on Tuesday announced that they had found more than 1,200 pounds of marijuana worth as much as $8.5 million during a routine traffic stop with the help of a police dog. 

Authorities in a press release said they had stopped a van along the highway near the town of Lowell, Indiana, located about 50 miles southeast of Chicago, for a moving violation. 

Upon inspecting the vehicle, which police said included a canine sniff, the officers then opened the back of the van, leading them to dozens of large boxes and bags that in total contained 1,264 individually sealed bags of marijuana. 

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According to the release, police measured approximately 1,275 pounds of marijuana, with a “conservative estimated street value” of anywhere from $5.7 million to $8.5 million. 

Police identified the driver as 31-year-old Christopher Colburn from California, who now faces a preliminary Level 5 felony charge of dealing marijuana, as well as a Level 6 felony of possessing marijuana with a prior conviction, according to the release. 

Under Indiana state law, a person charged with the sale or cultivation of 10 pounds or more of marijuana can face a punishment of up to six years in prison, with a fine of up to $10,000, according to the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws.

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The arrest comes as marijuana sales across the country have spiked throughout the pandemic. According to a report issued last month by the cannabis information website Leafly, Americans spent 71 percent more last year on marijuana products than they did a year prior. 

More states in recent years have adopted a range of laws easing restrictions on marijuana use, from decriminalizing its possession to legalizing cannabis for medical or recreational use. 

In Indiana, however, possession of any amount of marijuana is a Class B misdemeanor of up to 180 days in prison and a maximum fine of $1,000. 

The state does allow for the possession and sale of CBD products containing less than 0.3 percent of THC, the main psychoactive ingredient in cannabis.