Up in smoke

Staff writer

Colorado marijuana is likely being smoked in Marion County, but local law enforcement said it is difficult to prove where pot actually comes from.

“There is no doubt in my mind that we have usage of marijuana here,” county Sheriff Robert Craft said, “We believe we know where a lot of the marijuana in the county comes from but it is difficult to know where that source obtains it.”

Survey data released by Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt said Colorado pot has permeated nearly all parts of the state.

“The major effect of Colorado marijuana ‘legalization’ appears to be that high grade marijuana from Colorado has to a large extent replaced lower grade marijuana from Mexico and home grown marijuana,” the report said. “Numerous jurisdictions also reported a significant rise in the availability of marijuana edibles and other marijuana products, such as waxes and oils, originating from Colorado.”

However, the effect of Colorado’s legalization on Marion County is not so clear.

In the survey, Peabody Police reported three and Marion police reported two seizures of Colorado marijuana, but no department reported any confiscated edibles, juvenile arrests, or arrest for marijuana related impairment.

Craft said people caught with marijuana in their possession don’t typically tell where they acquired it.

Craft said he has corresponded with other agencies along the Kansas/Colorado border and in bigger metro areas that have noted increased marijuana activity as a growing problem; however, he said it the effect was not as noticeable in Marion County.

Craft said scientifically testing small amounts of marijuana that are typically confiscated in the county is not cost effective or important in prosecuting cases.

“The biggest issue here is time, manpower, cost, and credible evidence,” Craft said.

In the survey, Marion police wrote that one suspect who was arrested on US-77 with a large amount of marijuana told them that he bought the pot in Colorado and was taking it to St. Louis, Missouri.

In another arrest of a McPherson suspect, assistant chief Clinton Jeffrey said drugs were professionally packaged but it was a bit of stretch to say the marijuana came from Colorado.

However, there may have been an increase in busts of larger amounts of marijuana.

Hillsboro police chief Dan Kinning said his department has made marijuana arrests but cannot tie them to Colorado pot.

“What we have seized could very well have come from Colorado,” Kinning said. “Unless they tell us where they got it or it’s wrapped in the original package, it’s hard for us to say for a fact that it came from Colorado. Most of it is broken down into smaller portions.”

Each department has assisted out-of-county departments in marijuana arrests, but no department could say for sure that they had noticed an uptick in marijuana-related arrests or crimes since its legalization in Colorado.

“It’s a problem that has been here for years,” Peabody chief Bruce Burke said. “It’s illegal in Kansas and I hope it stays that way.”

A copy of the attorney general’s report is available at www.ag.ks.gov/survey-results.

Last modified Oct. 20, 2016

Quantcast