While officials in Colorado have been rejoicing over the revenue that legalizing marijuana has brought to their city, and while individuals are reveling in the new-found freedom to use cannabis to heal multiple ailments, their next-door neighbors in Nebraska aren’t so thrilled. Law enforcement admitted recently that all they do is profile cars from Colorado passing through their state in order to write tickets for the most miniscule amount of pot they find.
Police officers in Nebraska say they find pot in one of five cars they search, but according to KETV in Nebraska, lawmakers aren’t doing anything about it. This is because Colorado has every right to sell marijuana with the new legalization.
Aside from asking the Feds to sue the state over their constitutional choice, Nebraska can’t really do anything. Why would they want to arrest people for having tiny amounts of pot, anyway, when if they legalized marijuana themselves they could be generating millions in taxes too?
Nebraska cops are simply exaggerating their ‘problem’ with pot coming across state lines in order to inflate their budgets. If they need money – then legalize! In one Nebraska county, cops say that they have arrested more people in four months (since the sale of cannabis became legal in Colorado) than ever before. They complain that Nebraska tax payers are forking over the money to incarcerate, house, and provide trials to individuals who are caught with pot.
“We are paying for them to be housed. We are paying for them to be fed. We are paying for their medical expenses, which a lot of them do have,” whined Duel County Sheriff Adam Hayward. “And then a lot of them, even though they have money to buy drugs, they don’t have money to pay for an attorney. Therefore, the county has to pay for the public defender.”
One Nebraska politician, state Sen. Ken Schilz. says he wants to make the penalties for marijuana possession even harsher, with increased fines next year, “It would be a good idea, in my mind, if they would have harsher fines, as far as those people caught with under a pound, “We’re just going to keep after it and try to get ahead of it.”
The local media seems to be supporting their asinine stance. Here is KETV reporter Dave Roberts quip at the end of his report:
“While Nebraska lawmakers and law enforcers need to work things out, the clock is ticking. With each moment, Colorado marijuana costs Nebraska taxpayers a little bit more.”
This is such an ill-informed way to go about dealing with marijuana legalization, and smacks of the old ‘drug-war’ consciousness leading to tax-payers paying billions while never curbing hard drug use. Police should be spending their time looking for real criminals, not arresting people for coming across Nebraska state lines with a little pot. If they would get their facts straight, it might dawn on them that they could be taking part of a billion dollar industry instead of fighting the inevitability of nation-wide legalization.
Christina Sarich is a humanitarian and freelance writer helping you to Wake up Your Sleepy Little Head, and See the Big Picture. Her blog is Yoga for the New World. Her latest book is Pharma Sutra: Healing the Body And Mind Through the Art of Yoga.