Colorado Marijuana Law Worries Cheyenne Police Chief

WYOMING: The impact on Cheyenne of Colorado’s new law allowing the recreational use of marijuana isn’t known yet because the neighboring state is still working on rules to govern sales, the city’s police chief says.

However, Cheyenne Police Chief Brian Kozak made clear Tuesday night he doesn’t expect the impact to be beneficial for law enforcement or the community.

Kozak said law enforcement officers in Colorado are not arresting people for possessing small amounts of marijuana. But they are arresting people for driving under the influence of marijuana if they are impaired.

He noted that heavier use of marijuana in Colorado is keeping federal Drug Enforcement Administration agents busy with postal interdictions or the interception of marijuana shipments to other states for sale.

In 2012, agents seized 274 Colorado shipments destined for 37 states compared to 54 shipments in 2005, Kozak said. Each shipment averaged four pounds of marijuana.

The police chief presented a seminar Tuesday night on the pros and cons of marijuana legalization to a diverse group of about 30 people at the Kiwanis Community House.

The audience included parents and about half a dozen proponents of legalizing marijuana for medical use. The medical marijuana supporters wore brown T-shirts with a green “Weed Wyoming” logo.

Kozak explained the signs of marijuana use including bloodshot eyes and impaired motor skills, such as the inability to touch your finger to your nose.

He also cited various statistics showing the effect on Colorado of the relaxed marijuana law, including an increase in the number of students who said they smoked marijuana within the past 30 days and a boost in the potency of the drug.

Kozak’s biggest objection to the legalization of marijuana is the prospect of more users driving while impaired.

“The drivers think they’re fine,” Kozak said.

The police chief is concerned that legalization will encourage young people to believe marijuana use is OK.

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