Drones could soon revolutionize delivery services — but some prison smugglers are already testing them out.
The New York Times reports there is an emerging trend of drone smuggling attempts in corrections facilities, with small, unmanned aircraft dropping packages of cellphones, tobacco and marijuana.
Authorities aren't only worried about inmates getting high. Cellphones can be used to coordinate with the drone operators and to send payment for deliveries. In one nine-hour prison riot last year, inmates with cellphones made calls to a local TV station to show they were holding other inmates hostage.
Bryan P. Stirling, the director of the South Carolina Department of Corrections, told The New York Times how quickly drones have become an issue since he took the director role in 2013.
“We put up higher fences to stop people from throwing things over them,” he said. “Now they’re just flying over them.”
Loretta Lynch will be the next attorney general, but don't expect her to change marijuana laws.
She has told aides that she's never smoked marijuana and does not support legalization of the drug, according to The New York Times. During her Senate confirmation hearing, she said she did not share President Obama's view that marijuana may be less dangerous than alcohol.
Her predecessor, Eric Holder, oversaw a period of radical change in U.S. drug policy. On his watch, four states and the District of Columbia legalized marijuana. While federal law still outlaws the drug, he allowed the states to move forward with their experiments.
Last fall, he raised the question of whether cannabis should be considered one of the most dangerous drugs, on par with heroin.
Kevin Harrington, a former investor on the ABC reality television show Shark Tank, believes the legal marijuana market could be worth $200 billion in 15 years (Fusion is a joint venture of Univision and ABC).
Speaking at a marijuana investor summit this week in Denver, Colorado, he said he wanted a piece of the action. "Marijuana is here and it's here to stay for many, many years," he said, according to Inc. "By 2030, [the industry] will be worth $200 billion, and I want to get my share of that."
One industry estimate put the value of the current marijuana market at $50 billion, with legal sales only making up $2.5 billion or so of that haul.
Ted Hesson was formerly the immigration editor at Fusion, covering the issue from Washington, D.C. He also writes about drug laws and (occasionally) baseball. On the side: guitars, urban biking, and fiction.