Marijuana and profiling: Nebraska authorities warn about "drug pipeline" from Colorado
Since the Iowa marijuana-possession arrest of Colorado's Brian Unbehaun last month, we've been exploring the question of whether cars with Colorado plates are being profiled in other states. One reader argues that such incidents take place because Colorado is "surrounded by a lot of shitty states."
We cast no aspersions on Nebraska -- but a recent report about a so-called "drug pipeline" from Colorado to the home of the Cornhuskers stands as an example of vastly different standards and anti-pot hysteria.
In "Law Enforcement Battle Drug Pipeline Through Nebraska," from TV 10/11, sister channels based in Lincoln and Grand Island, correspondent Cassie Anderson employs drug-war lexicon, describing a "bitter battle at the border" that started when Colorado's medical marijuana industry began booming and has only escalated since the passage of Amendment 64, which allows adults 21 and over to possess small amounts of weed in the state.
Among the concerns in Nebraska is the quality of the stuff heading east. Anderson says authorities under the direction of folks like Lancaster County Sheriff Terry Wagner, seen above, continue to find low-grade pot in homes and cars -- but they're more concerned about the better stuff coming from Colorado.
A Nebraska road check.
"Some of that stays here," Wagner tells Anderson. "It doesn't all go through the state, a lot of it stays here. So we are combating the issue of bringing a higher grade of drug into Nebraska that we normally wouldn't have."
From there, Anderson chats with Deputy Jason Mayo, who she lauds for his ability to find illicit cannabis. "On back to back nights in December, with a little help from a canine nose, he netted more than twenty pounds of high-grade marijuana, worth about $100,000," she gushes.
But while Mayo reportedly "knows all the hiding places in a car," he admits that top-notch marijuana is easier to find than old-fashioned Mexican brick weed. "The don't want to compact it or mess it up by forcing it down into a small package, so it's really hard to conceal," he points out. "So, you know pretty soon if someone has something. You just open suitcases in the car, because you can't physically put it somewhere else."
The piece's laugh-out-loud moment (or one of them, at least) comes when Anderson mentions other "disturbing" products being found by Nebraska officers during searches -- with an example of a terrifying item being this:
Deputy Jason Mayo likens tracking down illegal pot to finding a needle in a haystack.
Sheriff Wagner is particularly leery of pot edibles aimed at those with sweet tooths. "People not knowing what that might be, children or other adults, ingesting marijuana candy, I don't know what kind of effect it would have on them," he says.
Anderson notes that other narcotics, including meth, are also found during traffic stops -- and if she doesn't directly trace them to Colorado, Wagner's argument that "crime proceeds...fund the marijuana trade" certainly implies it. She adds that officials think the flow of drugs might actually ramp up in the near future, especially if Colorado becomes the "Amsterdam of the west" -- an image enhanced by a shot of a young woman smoking up a storm.
Not that she's from Colorado. She's featured in a driving-while-stoned report from Washington state.
After stressing that "law enforcement here will continue developing strategies to keep the drug out of the state," Anderson makes her sole concession to the possibility of homegrown reform with the following statement: "The question is, 'Will there be a serious discussion over marijuana laws in Nebraska?'"
Her answer: "Officials don't think that will happen anytime soon."
Probably not -- which makes the matter of profiling even more key. Here's the 10/11 report:
More from our Marijuana archive: "Driving-while-stoned videos help fuel momentum of THC driving bill."
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