Wyoming Statistics May Back-up Colorado’s Approach
May 18th, 2015
Policy, Top News
The States of Oklahoma and Nebraska filed a lawsuit lsat December against the State of Colorado, saying that the state violated the U.S. Constitution’s Supremacy Clause by overstepping crystal clear federal laws on a state level. In addition, the group insists that marijuana is flowing over the border and putting financial and other strains on law enforcement agencies in states where it remains illegal.
In Wyoming, the mixed feelings among law enforcement could shed some light on the true effects of being next door to a drug dealer. There is no question that many Wyoming citizens cross the border to purchase drugs, but those dynamics haven’t translated into an increase in prosecutions for possession. In fact, charges in some counties are down by nearly 20% between 2013 and 2014.
Felony seizures by highway patrol troopers are also trending downward, despite the anticipated spike in trafficking of the drug across the border. The pounds of marijuana or edibles confiscated fell 50% between 2012 and 2013, although recovered modestly by 28% between 2013 and 2014. In general, police are more concerned with heroin and meth coming through the state.
It’s worth noting that some of these dynamics could be due to other factors as well. For example, the number of state troopers patrolling the highways has declined over the past several years due to low morale, while fewer interactions with drug dealers outside of driving could lower the risk of ever being caught. The real question then becomes: What is the downside for the states?
In Colorado, drug related crimes have held steady or dropped, traffic fatalities have failed to materialize, marijuana use hasn’t spiked, and tax revenues have been used to run anti-smoking campaigns and fund schools. It’s hard to deny that legalization has had a positive impact in the state and embracing that impact could be the key to improving the situation in other states.
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