Wyoming governor braces for influx of Colorado pot

2013-09-14T09:00:00Z Wyoming governor braces for influx of Colorado potThe Associated Press The Associated Press
September 14, 2013 9:00 am  • 

DENVER – Wyoming Gov. Matt Mead says he’s concerned about increased trafficking in his state as Colorado prepares to allow the sale of recreational marijuana to the public.

Colorado released rules last week covering licensing, tracking, packaging and advertising of recreational marijuana sales. Colorado officials, wary of federal sanctions, have emphasized the marijuana must be consumed in-state.

But Mead, a former federal prosecutor, said Wednesday he remains concerned about drug smuggling into his state and increased impaired driving.

“Since I knew they were going this direction, I’ve expressed concerned about it, in terms of how it will impact Wyoming citizens and Wyoming law enforcement,” said Mead, who previously served as U.S. Attorney for Wyoming. He said he hasn’t reviewed the new Colorado rules.

Mead said he’s talked to law enforcement in Wyoming and Colorado about recreational pot sales set to begin as soon as Jan. 1. Under the rules, Colorado residents over 21 can buy up to 1 ounce of marijuana while those who don’t show Colorado identification can buy a quarter-ounce.

The U.S. Justice Department last month announced that Colorado and Washington can go their own way without federal interference as long as they implement enforcement systems intended to keep marijuana in-state and preventing drugged driving. The drug remains is illegal under federal law.

As a prosecutor, Mead said he saw traffic stops on interstate highways that led to some very large drug cases.

“My belief is that the recreational drug use of marijuana in Colorado will have adverse impact to some degree, we don’t know what yet, to citizens in Wyoming,” Mead said. “And that is a concern.”

Law enforcement officials in Wyoming said officers remain ready to arrest anyone with marijuana.

“A lot of the guys on the street and on the road have already heard when they’re dealing with guys who’ve been caught with marijuana, “Well it’s legal here, it’s legal there,’” said Detective Dick Blust Jr. of the Sweetwater County Sheriff’s Office, which abuts Colorado.

“Well, it’s not legal here,” Blust said. “You’re not in Colorado, you’re not in Washington.”

Lt. John Bannister of the Wichita, Kan., police department said he expects Colorado recreational sales will bring more marijuana to Kansas.

“Do I think that people may decide to drive to Colorado, and somehow get more than an ounce and bring it back? Absolutely, because we see it every day,” Bannister said, citing numerous cases in which hundreds of pounds of pot are smuggled into Kansas from Colorado, which has long permitted medical marijuana.

Mead said he can’t imagine Wyoming ever legalizing marijuana.

“I not only don’t see that in the near future. I don’t see it in any future,” Mead said.

Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

(5) Comments

  1. LibertyRebel
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    LibertyRebel - September 15, 2013 10:42 am
    The Govt created these issues and the environment for which the drug trade thrives off of. Marijuana would not be a hot topic that it is if it had never been made illegal nor would it be expensive with so many people wanting to deal in it. Legalization is going to go 50 states wide whether the anti-pot folks like it or not.Analysts are predicting nationwide legalization before 2020. You can count on MANY Wyoming residents bringing it back into Wyoming, and the same for Nebraska , Kansas, New Mexico,Utah, Oklahoma , and Texas. It's going to pour into those states by tourists and black market dealers and I'm glad too because the interdiction efforts will be futile. I'm sure the arrests in those states will skyrocket but that will just strengthen the legalization movement with thousands pointing out how much of a waste of tax payer money it is to pack the already overcrowded jails and prisons over something that is legal in one area and illegal in another. The economy is on the brink of collapse and yet we still have advocates of 1930's era reefer madness that think they have a right to dictate the appetite of their fellow neighbor and punish them for it. GO AFTER REAL CRIME !

    The sky isn't going to fall with drug legalization ! In the early 1900s corporations like Sears sold coke, heroin, and everything else out of their mail order catalog and done so for decades since the 1800s and you did not have cities full of drug addicts or violent drug dealing gangs or prison crowding problems or cops crashing down doors looking for illegal substances. History is overlooked as the proof that counters these absurd illusions that the nation is going to turn into drug addicts by ending the drug war. The drug war was NEVER about public safety , that was just a cover, the real reason for the creation of the drug war was over MONEY and CONTROL and POWER. I'm not an advocate for trying to tell people to start taking drugs because these drugs that should be legal, I would not take no matter what their legal standing is. The drug war is the prime reason why the US has the greatest incarceration rate in the world. THE number 1 jailer nation on the planet. Why is it that US soldiers stand guard over Afghan poppy fields giving security to farmers when Afghanistan supplies 90% of the world's heroin supply ? The drug war is about MONEY. It was never about public health and safety. Putting people in prison for drugs is one of the greatest govt schemes in the history of mankind filled with lies and hypocrisy.
  2. idiot state
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    idiot state - September 14, 2013 5:50 pm
    The governor of Wyoming would prefer to not see Wyoming, a beautiful and pristine state, turn into the drug infested, crime ridden, dirty state that Montana's become. Drug dealers, pill pushers, murderers, criminals of all sorts-if that's what you like, Montana and Colorado are your states. Marijuana dopeheads need to stay out of Wyoming. Coloradoans, Montanans, keep your dope in your own states.
  3. claygooding
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    claygooding - September 14, 2013 1:14 pm
    Maybe the governor can get CO to send them funding for killing the people involved in the black market like the US government does for Mexico.
  4. RobertChase
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    RobertChase - September 14, 2013 12:04 pm
    Mead reflects very poorly on Wyoming. Is your State dominated by fascists, that you would elect one Governor? The United States of America, supposed "land of the free", is now the least free country on Earth (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Prisoner_population_rate_world_map.png ) and our unconscionable, unconstitutional drug laws are largely responsible. Instead of electing enemy combatants against the American People and American Liberty to high office, ...
  5. steven
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    steven - September 14, 2013 10:46 am
    This is typical reactionary pablum from Mead. Rather than grasping the reality that marijuana legalization, for medical as well as recreational users is the will of the majority of the citizens of his state and the country, he clings to the worn out 20th century truisms of the 'drugs r bad' crowd.
    Mead's lack of imagination does not mean marijuana will not be legalized in Wyoming. Rather, it means he is unlikely to enjoy another term as a backward, uninformed governor who prefers incarceration to individual freedom.
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