Missouri Latest State to Decry Flood of "High-Quality" Colorado Pot

Over the past few years, one state after another has blamed Colorado's marijuana laws for endangering its citizens — and prompting cannabis crackdowns within its borders.

We've posted about alleged pot profiling in Kansas and Wyoming, accompanied by assertions that Colorado is likely the source of the weed.

And, of course, Nebraska and Oklahoma are suing Colorado over pot policies here.

The latest state to make such assertions? Missouri, which, unlike the places noted above, doesn't share a border with Colorado.

The Springsfield News-Leader's piece on the subject leaves Colorado out of its headline, which reads, "High-Quality Pot From Legal States Flooding Market in Springfield."

However, the word "Colorado" pops up thirteen times in the article, in mentions from folks such as Dan Banasik, a supervising narcotics sergeant for the Missouri State Highway Patrol. Here's an example:
Banasik said the marijuana coming from Colorado is a much higher quality than the Mexican weed that was most common in Springfield a decade ago. He said the product from Colorado has much higher levels of THC — the main active ingredient in marijuana — meaning it takes less of the drug to achieve a stronger high.
Another Missouri State Highway Patrol rep, Sergeant Shawn Griggs, says the amount of marijuana seized on Missouri roadways went from 1,071 pounds in 2013 to approximately 1,700 pounds the following year — and the total for 2015 thus far is already over 1,000 pounds.

Granted, Griggs didn't know how much of that pot came from Colorado, but he said the number of seized pot edibles has increased exponentially — and he suspects that they could be traced back here.

Additionally, the paper reports that there have been "at least five cases since January 2014 of people transporting marijuana into Springfield from either Colorado or California."

Among them was Tanner Nave, 21. According to the News-Leader, postal inspectors flagged a suspicious package to Nave that originated in Colorado, and under questioning, he revealed that he'd ordered weed through the mail.

Nave is quoted as saying he paid $1,500 or so for two bags' worth of pot, adding that he'd made similar out-of-state orders approximately ten times previously.

He's been charged with possession of a controlled substance with intent to distribute — yet he wasn't arrested by the original officers on the case. Instead, the marijuana was simply booked into evidence.

Likewise, the state patrol's Banasik tells the News-Leader that marijuana is "in our lower focus," adding, "The larger marijuana distributors are the only ones we would focus our energies and resources on. Our efforts are more on the powder drugs and prescription drugs.”

Does this suggest that all the pot coming into Missouri from Colorado isn't that big a deal? Perhaps — but in the meantime, the state we're in continues to serve as a convenient target for law-enforcers from beyond our borders.

Often a lot beyond our borders.
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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
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