COLORADO: Not far away, in Scotts Bluff County, Neb., Sheriff Mark Overman says Colorado is exporting trouble to its neighbors. “They’re promoting marijuana tourism,” he said. “The message is: Come to Colorado, smoke the marijuana. Then people bring some home. We don’t go after it — we don’t have anybody sitting on the border — but this Colorado marijuana is very potent, very aromatic, and we often trip over it if somebody’s speeding and we pull them over.”
State lines can be symbols of divisions over values and cultures. Abortions were once legal in some states but not in others. Fireworks are okay on one side of some state borders but verboten just a mile away. Laws governing liquor sales vary widely by state. So it should be no shock that as attitudes toward marijuana have shifted, fault lines have appeared along state boundaries.
On the Great Plains east of the Rockies, a three-hour drive from Denver’s profusion of pot shops — 340 medical and recreational at last count — Colorado’s bold social experiment is confounding parents who have to explain to their children why this alluring but troubling substance is legal just down the road, a state line — and a cultural divide — away.