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Every now and then, you’ll come across a pot dealer who accepts trades. Maybe you have some handy electronics he’s happy to take off your hands. Maybe you grow shrooms in your basement and swap some for a couple of ounces. Maybe your dealer lost her license and needs a chauffeur.

Needless to say, this usually doesn’t work out very well. Marijuana is a cash business pretty much everywhere. If your dealer gives you credit for a trade, she’s expecting cash somewhere down the road – sooner rather than later.

But someWalter Earl Morrisontimes bartering works, and everyone comes out ahead. Until the cops roll in, anyway.

A Phoenix man was arrested in late November after he stole a $160,000 diamond from a UPS package and sold it on the street for $20 in weed. The man, a UPS employee, was promptly arrested and fired.

Walter Earl Morrison, 20, was charged with felony theft, police said. During a recent shift at Sky Harbor Airport in Phoenix, Morrison allegedly stole a package he believed held a large amount of cash.

Morrison failed to realize the diamond’s value

Morrison allegedly hid the package under his clothes when he left. But he soon discovered it didn’t contain cash but rather a large diamond, which police said is valued at $160,000. Morrison had an annual salary of less than $20,000.

The diamond could have given Morrison a hefty windfall had he known something about the criminal underworld. Instead of finding a fence who could sell it on the black market for a hefty chunk, Morrison allegedly pawned the stone on the street for a dub.

A UPS spokesman said the diamond was recovered soon after Morrison’s arrest. But it was unclear what happened to the dealer who allegedly took it from Morrison.

In any event, Morrison got ripped off. He walked away with $20 worth of weed while the dealer walked away with enough to buy a modest house.

UPS employees tipped off police

After Morrison macrime-handcuffsde off with the loot, fellow employees discovered the package was missing and called police. Morrison was an immediate suspect, and police served a search warrant on his home shortly after the workers tipped them off.

Cops were prepared for a very thorough search, including a body cavity inspection. Before things got that far, Morrison allegedly confessed to hawking the stone for a couple joints worth of pot, enough pot to last a committed stoner a day at the most.

The whole story might make more sense if Morrison tried to buy heroin or crack or meth. For one thing, pot really isn’t addictive. For another, marijuana users rarely commit serious crimes.

No matter how much you love cannabis, your habit is unlikely to explain a federal felony. A real addiction would be another story.

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About the Author: Matt Brooks

Matt is a journalist from San Francisco who has specialized in marijuana policy for more than six years.

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