Marijuana from Colorado is flowing into neighboring states, according to law enforcement officials. In those states, drug arrests in counties near the Colorado border are on the rise, the Los Angeles Times reports.
“It has just devastated these smaller agencies,” said Tom Gorman, Director of the Rocky Mountain High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area program, which includes law enforcement organizations in four Western states. “The marijuana laws [in Colorado] were supposed to eliminate the black market. But in effect they have become the black market.”
Possession of small amounts of marijuana is legal for adults in Colorado, but it remains illegal to take the drug out of state.
Rural counties along Nebraska’s panhandle have been especially hard hit. “There’s about a dozen back roads into my county from Colorado. I’ve got eight deputies. Even if I had every one of them take a road and sit on it day and night, there are still four roads left,” said Cheyenne County Sheriff John Jenson. “They passed a law and didn’t give a second thought to how it would impact surrounding states. If they want Colorado to be the High State and live up to all of those John Denver songs, they can keep it in their four walls. I don’t need Colorado’s problems in Nebraska.”
Law enforcement officials in Thomas County, Kansas and San Juan County, New Mexico also report an increase in marijuana coming from Colorado. Marc Finley, undersheriff for Thomas County, said the number of marijuana-impaired driving arrests recently surpassed those involving alcohol in his area.