Colorado’s legalization of marijuana impacts Oklahoma

Press reports show that Colorado’s legalization of marijuana has resulted in increased trafficking in other states.

That’s why the states of Oklahoma and Nebraska have filed legal challenges.

“We’re not challenging use and possession,” Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt said. “If Colorado wants to legalize, for state law purposes, the use and possession of marijuana, that’s their business.”

Officials argue that Colorado is getting tax benefits from sales not only to its residents but through interstate trafficking. Criminals are growing pot in state-sanctioned warehouses and farms in Colorado and then covertly shipping it to states where marijuana is illegal.

Pruitt is challenging one part of Colorado Amendment 64 that deals with state officials adopting rules to ensure the viability of marijuana trafficking. A popular myth is that the typical Colorado trafficker is a tourist who visits the state and then brings a stash home with him. The truth is that much larger quantities are being delivered by criminal organizations.

One press report stated that 20 drug traffickers from Cuba had relocated to Colorado and were growing marijuana to ship to Florida.

Another report stated that 32 people used skydiving planes while posing as medical marijuana caregivers and small business owners. They exported more than $12 million worth of marijuana to Minnesota over four years, according to a state indictment.

“You’ve heard the saying, ‘Good fences make good neighbors,’ ” Pruitt said. “Well, Colorado not only failed to build a fence, they erected a pipeline, and it is a substantial pipeline.”

Pruitt notes that Colorado officials could have put restrictions in place to deter large-scale marijuana
 trafficking, such as requiring that a buyer be a resident of Colorado to purchase the drug. State officials also could have limited the number of transactions, to deter bulk trafficking.

Similar restrictions have been implemented in other states that legalized marijuana.

“That would have been the smart thing to do if they weren’t trying to export it, in effect, to other states,” Pruitt said.