THE LAW of supply and demand.
So said Senior Supt. Rudy Gamido Lacadin, chief of the regional Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) of what caused the steep street price of marijuana nowadays – at P45 per gram.
Lacadin was fielding questions from media at Monday’s press presentation of a large haul of hallucinogens – 15 hashish brown flakes weighing 1.5 kilograms valued at P362,500 and 164 bricks of dried marijuana leaves weighing 154.4 kilograms worth P6,946,470 – taken in a police buy-bust operation at the Dau bus terminal Sunday afternoon.
The CIDG-3 chief declared that the successful operation effectively crippled the so-called Kamot Gang, reportedly a big-time dealer of marijuana and its derivative hashish, with the arrest of its leader, one Catherine Lamog, 44, of Barangay Mainit, Bontoc, Mt. Province and cohorts Julie Bagcas, 37, of the same barangay, and Yolanda Adaol, 42, of Loccong, Tinglayan in Kalinga province.
The Kamot Gang, police said, operated not only in North Luzon – where the marijuana plantations are located – but also in Central Luzon, Metro Manila and parts of the Southern Tagalog region.
Police vigilance has taken its toll on the dangerous drugs industry, Lacadin says. It’s not as easy now to cultivate marijuana plantations, to process, pack and transport the finished smoke-ready product. Thereby, resulting to a big dent on the supply side.
That – and the high risk involved in all process from production to marketing – greatly contributed to the spike in the price of the commodity. Yeah, just what we learned in Economics 101: The higher the risk, the greater the price, the higher the profit.
Product quality was a factor in the price increase too. Lacadin hastened to add that Benguet-grown marijuana – cannabis sativa, lest you’ve forgotten the scientific name – now takes high premium in the global drug market, “far superior to the Colombian and Mexican produce.”
Yeah, the lowly Benguet hemp finally outclassing Colombian gold and Acapulco red. Us old jeprox potheads thought we’d never see the day!
“This is a revelation and eye-opener for our police authorities.”
So spake Mayor Edgardo D. Pamintuan, one gloved hand holding hashish flake like some prized possession.
“Just think how many lives could have been destroyed if the police have not intercepted this contraband,” said Lacadin.
Which led me to ask: So where is the intended market for this shipment?
In Pampanga, including Angeles City, replied Chief Inspector Julius Caesar Mana, Pampanga CIDG chief.
The sheer volume of the confiscated illegal drugs impacts on Pampanga as a major market in the nefarious trade, with Angeles City making convenient transhipment point as well.
Think how many sticks one can make out of 154.4 kilograms of dried marijuana leaves. At two sticks per gram, that would amount to some 300,000 joints.
Think how many bongs – that’s pipes – can one fill with 1.5 kilograms of hashish. Wow, man, heavy!