Pot profiling: Videos show Coloradans pulled over for extremely minor infractions

For a year-plus, we've shared claims of pot profiling from drivers who say they were pulled over on bogus pretenses in other states simply because their vehicle had Colorado license plates. For instance, a 65-year-old was told she fit the profile of a drug smuggler because she didn't fit the profile of a drug smuggler and a man was pulled over due to a rental car records snafu that didn't really exist.

Out-of-state agencies tend to deny that they profile despite evidence suggesting they do -- and a new report offers possible reasons why such efforts happen. Videos below show three Colorado drivers getting pulled over in Idaho for the most minor of infractions, but in each case, troopers found weed.

In the piece (read it in its entirety by clicking here), Complete Colorado's Todd Shepherd accurately notes that the images offer arguments for and against profiling. But they also document drivers being stopped for reasons that would almost certainly be ignored in every other circumstance.

In the first video, a trooper tells a man with a car bearing Colorado license plates that he had failed to signal a lane change for five seconds, the amount of time required prior to such a maneuver on Idaho interstates. Shepherd points out that the signal can be seen flashing four times -- meaning that if the signaling time did indeed fall short, it likely did so by a second or less.

The full video of the stop is shared below.

The five-second signaling rule was also the rationale for another stop -- one documented in the following video, which features more than an hour's worth of footage.

And finally, the Colorado driver seen in a third video was stopped for allegedly driving at a speed of 69 miles per hour in a 65 zone -- a margin of error so small that most law enforcers wouldn't bother enforcing it.

This isn't the first time we've heard about possible marijuana profiling in Idaho. Earlier this year, as we've reported, Pagosa Springs retiree Darien Roseen, seventy, filed a lawsuit against the Idaho State Patrol for allegedly profiling him. The suit states that Roseen was returning home from attending his daughter's baby shower in Washington state when he was followed into an Idaho rest stop by a state trooper.

Roseen's vehicle was subjected to multiple searches, including one conducted after another officer drove it to a nearby sheriff's station, the suit says. In the end, though, the law enforcers found nothing. So, after allegedly declining to let Roseen contact an attorney, he was let go -- but not before he was cited for careless driving.

In contrast, the drivers in the videos obtained by Complete Colorado weren't ticketed for moving-vehicle infractions -- just marijuana-related offenses. But the number of times troopers find pot on Coloradans may well motivate them to continue with the practice.

Here's the full video of the first arrest cited above.

Send your story tips to the author, Michael Roberts.

More from our Marijuana archive circa May 21: "Weed profiling: Nebraska county cites Colorado drivers for pot, etc., more than Nebraska ones."

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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.
Contact: Michael Roberts

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