SEDGWICK, Colo (CBS) – Police in Nebraska counties along the Colorado border are fighting to keep medical marijuana from crossing state lines.
It’s a problem they fear will grow worse when it becomes legal to buy marijuana for recreational use in January.
Brad Henson owns “Sedgwick Alternative Relief,” a medical marijuana dispensary in Sedgwick. He says Nebraskans are among the people trying to buy pot.
“Probably one or two every day from people — from North Platte, one from Omaha — every day,” he said. “I mean, the demand is there.”
Henson said he turns them down; his dispensary sells only medical marijuana to Coloradans with a license.
Law officials in Nebraska said that’s not keeping pot from crossing the border.
“You know this medical stuff is so potent it’s hard to mask, you can’t mask it,” said Deuel County Sheriff Adam Hayward. “You are out here and stop someone for speeding and walk up to the vehicle and most of the time you can just smell it right off the bat.”
Hayward’s office has an evidence room filled with medical marijuana, all seized on Nebraska’s roads.
“In this case,” Hayward explains showing evidence from one case, “these were a couple of kids from Colorado. They were stopped for speeding. They were going from Iowa to Colorado, they have a friend who has the license, they give the friend money, he goes in and buys it.
“They can spend $2,500 on a pound of weed, they can take it back to Iowa and sell it for $5,000.”
Hayward is concerned the problem will get much worse if Sedgwick approves the sale of recreational marijuana.
In Sedgwick, it’s seen as a boost for the economy.
“I can’t believe the demand for it already,” Henson said. “I believe I could do three to 10 times what I’m currently doing in revenue easily.”
But in Deuel County, it’s worrisome.
“What we are also finding is that people are using this stuff while they are driving. Our DUIDs (driving while under the influence of drugs) have gone up dramatically in the last two years,” Hayward said.
Nebraska has created a special task force, the Western Nebraska Intelligence & Narcotics Group, or WING to help combat the problem.
Hayward believes it may not be enough to turn the tide.