States bordering Colorado are reporting large increases in illegal marijuana coming in from the border. Least surprised is the DEA.
“[These] trends are what us in law enforcement expected would happen,” DEA Administrator Michele Leonhart told the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Leonhart warns that neighboring Kansas has seen a 61 percent increase in marijuana-related crimes. Nebraska law enforcement says the problem has gotten bad enough that they want Colorado to foot the bill for these crimes.
The DEA’s concern, however, isn’t on the state level. They’ve been instructed to allow local authorities to handle such cases, ignore crimes on an individual basis, and put their focus elsewhere, such as preventing sales to minors.
Although Colorado citizens still fully support their legalization, skyrocketing tax revenues and tourism rates is a minor issue, in the DEA’s eyes, compared to cannabis getting into the hands of citizens in nearby states. Moreover, it seems, at least to industry representatives within Colorado, that the issue is being blown slightly out of proportion.
“We are moving from a black market to a regulated market,” Brian Vicente, Executive Director of Sensible Colorado, said to ABC News. “There are going to be some criminal actors and that’s where law enforcement can focus their resources. The vast majority of people who use marijuana in this state are acting in full compliance of the law.”
“Law enforcement can point to a couple dozen incidents of people shipping marijuana outside of the state in the 12 years we’ve had medical marijuana,” Vicente says.
As Amendment 64 is put into place, ironing out the kinks, Vicente believes the illegal sales will go back down. The proverbial ball will be in the hands of the remaining 48 states.
Should cannabis leaving Colorado’s borders be a concern for neighboring states? Tell us in the comments below.