Marijuana: Nebraska cops want Colorado to help pay for pot enforcement

Nebraska police officers are increasingly frustrated with Colorado for what they say is an increase in pot trafficking in their state that they tie directly to the legalization of cannabis across their state's western border.

This week, the Omaha World-Herald profiled several cops and state troopers who say they feel overburdened and suggest that Colorado help fund their fight against pot. They're wasting money and resources on a problem that Colorado should handle, they believe.

"I don't know what it will take to get someone to stand up and do something to try to get some of our money back," Deuel County Sheriff Adam Hayward told the paper.

The pot-enforcement problem has apparently become such a major issue that Nebraska Attorney General Jon Bruning is making veiled threats about suing Colorado. "We are very troubled by the fact that their change in law has become our problem, so you never say 'never,'" Bruning told the World-Herald, implying that Colorado cops should step up prevention efforts.

Troopers in Colorado already regularly stop and arrest people for transporting large amounts of cannabis. But Colorado state troopers can't prevent drivers with a legal ounce or less in their car from driving across the border into another state.

Earlier this year, there was talk of Colorado taxpayers contributing to law enforcement in other states; Representative Amy Stephens even introduced a bill that would have done just that. Under her plan, extra money in the state marijuana cash fund would have gone to a "diversion prevention grant program" that would have doled out money to places like Nebraska upon request. The notion of local tax dollars going out of state didn't sit well with Stephens's fellow lawmakers, however, and the bill was postponed indefinitely.

Could Nebraska cops be busting their budget by purposefully (and needlessly) increasing their efforts to catch cannabis-carrying drivers in hopes of cashing in on Colorado's increased tax dollars?

Consider this: Westword regularly reports on overzealous cops in other states profiling cars with Colorado plates, looking to anyone and everyone they can for the smallest amount of marijuana. Colorado drivers say they've been pulled over for going one mile per hour over the speed limit, or for weaving when they clearly weren't, and had to wait while out-of-state cops spent hours searching their vehicles -- only to find no pot at all.

More from our Marijuana archive: "130 arrests or citations during 4/20 at Civic Center Park is way too many, attorney says" and "Bill O'Reilly's 4/20 report portrays all pot smokers as apathetic morons."

KEEP WESTWORD FREE... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
William Breathes
Contact: William Breathes