Law enforcement officials say arrests in the Oklahoma Panhandle have risen since Colorado legalized marijuana in 2014
The spokesman for the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics of Dangerous Drug Control has said that he expects the numbers to rise as people continue to realise that illegally distributing colorado to other states is a lucrative proposition.
“You tend to see 200 pounds in duffel bags going to the East Coast from California because they have a black market,” he said. “Those connections in Colorado are still being established.”
In 2013, Colorado police made 288 seizures of marijuanas heading out of the state. As arrests increase, the workload on the neighbouring court systems is also rising.
“It is exploding our docket,” said District Attorney Mike Boring, who oversees four counties including Cimarron, Texas and Beaver counties in the Oklahoma Panhandle.
“It’s just massive,” Boring said. “Cimarron County has been … averaging 37 felony cases per year. That’s what they’ve averaged for the last 11 years. As of today, we’ve already filed 23 cases, and we’re not even to the end of April.” Most of those were drug offenses, he said.
The sheriffs and district attorneys do tend to admit that most of the marijuana they confiscate is in small amount for personal use.
Attorney General Scott Pruitt claimed in a federal challenge that Oklahoma’s criminal justice system has been negatively affected by Colorado’s marijuana laws. Pruitt, who was joined in the lawsuit by Nebraska, argued that Colorado’s decriminalization of marijuana has caused the drug to flow more heavily into Oklahoma.
That lawsuit was dismissed in March by the U.S. Supreme Court.
Do you think that Colorado should continue to clamp down on people smuggling out of state, or should surrounding states move to legalize? Let us know in the comments below or on our facebook page.