Meet 3 Oklahoma Panhandle Lawmen on the Lookout for Colorado Pot

Harper County Sheriff Marty Drew. Additional images below.
Harper County Sheriff Marty Drew. Additional images below.

Last month, as we reported, the United States Supreme Court decided not to hear a lawsuit filed by Oklahoma and Nebraska over Colorado's marijuana laws — specifically Amendment 64, which legalized limited recreational marijuana sales here after its passage in November 2012.

The two states wanted the federal government to act because "Amendment 64 and its resultant statutes and regulations are devoid of safeguards to ensure marijuana cultivated and sold in Colorado is not trafficked to other states, including Plaintiff States."

The Supreme Court's disinterest in hearing this argument effectively killed the case.

But that doesn't thrill law enforcers from Oklahoma, who have been complaining for years about what they see as the high costs associated with keeping Colorado pot out of their state — efforts that have led to plenty of anecdotes about pot-profiling cars with Colorado license plates.

And judging by a new report from the Oklahoman newspaper, three men in charge of maintaining law and order in Oklahoma's panhandle area, part of which borders Colorado, remain committed to their anti-cannabis mission.

Cimarron County Sheriff Leon Apple.
Cimarron County Sheriff Leon Apple.

The trio are Cimarron County Sheriff Leon Apple, Harper County Sheriff Marty Drew and Mike Boring, the district attorney in charge of prosecutions in the panhandle.

Apple tells the Oklahoman that his resources are stretched thin; he's got just two deputies and a drug-sniffing dog at his disposal. And since 2014, when legalized recreational sales got under way in Colorado, he says, the volume of weed from the state has gone up exponentially.

Prior to legalization, Apple suggests that his office would seize "a couple of pounds" per year — but since last fall, thirty pounds' worth has been nabbed.

Drew, for his part, suggests that he's got to limit his efforts at interdiction simply because of logistics.

“I'm a small jail,” Oklahoman journalist Graham Lee Brewer quotes him as saying. “I'm only a fourteen-bed jail, and we'd probably make arrests every day if we went out and really beat the brush and stopped every car that was suspicious.”

District Attorney Mike Boring.EXPAND
District Attorney Mike Boring.

Even so, DA Boring says prosecutors are currently overwhelmed with pot prosecutions that have links to Colorado.

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"It is exploding our docket,” Boring maintains. “It's just massive.

"Cimarron County has been...averaging 37 felony cases per year. That's what they've averaged for the last eleven years." As of the time of his Oklahoman interview, he continued, "We've already filed 23 cases, and we're not even to the end of April.”

Is this situation self-inflicted? We leave that for you to judge. To read the complete Oklahoman report, click here.



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