There’s a pretty long list of things you can buy on Amazon. For a short time in India recently, that list included purchasing illegal cannabis, thanks to the involvement of executives with the online retailer, according to the country’s law enforcement officials.
Police in India recently charged two Amazon executives with using the online platform to smuggle illegal cannabis. They estimate the scheme led to the sale of about 1,000 kilograms of cannabis, worth about $148,000, through the online retailer’s site in India.
Police arrested two men with 20 kilograms of cannabis on Nov. 14, 2021, after they learned they were using the website to sell weed. They listed the weed as stevia leaves, which is a natural sweetener.
Police did not specify how many Amazon executives they arrested. Police are charging them under India’s Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act. Apparently, the involvement of the executives came to light after police made the initial arrest.
Amazon Quickly Responded to the Arrest
The arrests quickly became big news, given the fact that it involved a division of Amazon, one of the biggest companies on the planet. The Seattle-based company quickly responded, saying in a statement: “The issue was notified to us and we are currently investigating it.”
The company also said it does not allow the listing and sale of legally prohibited products and that it takes strict action in such cases.
According to the BBC, the charges are the latest in a series of issues that Amazon’s business in India is facing. Regulators have launched an investigation into whether the site showed preferential treatment to some sellers. The company itself is investigating whether one or more of its employees bribed officials.
Cannabis remains illegal in India. In recent years, law enforcement in the country has cracked down on the use of illegal drugs, including cannabis. For example, narcotics officers have scrutinized high-profile actors and TV personalities in the past year, keeping a close watch for any type of drug use, according to the BBC.
That’s a far cry from Amazon’s home state of Washington. Voters there approved legal recreational marijuana in 2012, just three hours before Colorado voters did the same. The two states became the first to legalize adult-use marijuana.
There Have Been a Wave of Illegal Weed Cases
In the U.S., police have uncovered a host of illegal cannabis operations in 2021, despite marijuana becoming legal in states across the country. Some illegal operations apparently attract customers by undercutting the price of legal weed. But consumers do well to remember that marijuana bought through dispensaries meets industry standards and government regulations for quality and safety.
One of the biggest busts of the year happened in Oregon the week before Thanksgiving. Police seized $500 million in illegal cannabis after raiding five industrial-sized warehouses outside Medford.
As noted by CNN, this is happening despite the fact that the legal cannabis industry continues to grow, with sales expected to reach $26 billion in the U.S. this year.