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Are marijuana purchasers being targeted at Colorado's borders?

Recreational marijuana use has been legal in Colorado for over a month now, and at least some say that the law change has resulted in some “profiling” on the state’s borders.

The Kansas City Star recently reported that although the evidence is mostly anecdotal, some are saying that police officers are targeting cars crossing into Kansas, Missouri and Nebraska from Colorado for potential marijuana purchasers.

That’s because while recreational marijuana is now legal in Colorado, it remains illegal in bordering states. A criminal defense attorney who is also a spokesman for the Colorado chapter of NORML, the National Organization to Reform Marijuana Laws, said he thinks “a lot of profiling of Colorado plates” is taking place near the borders.

According to a spokesman for the Kansas Highway Patrol, law enforcement isn’t doing anything differently since recreational marijuana use became legal in Colorado on January 1. But he admitted that there has been a recent spike in marijuana-related arrests.

The Kansas Bureau of Investigation said it will be a while before official arrest data is released.

It is now legal for both residents and non-residents who are 21 or older to purchase recreational marijuana in the state of Colorado. (Residents can purchase up to an ounce of marijuana, while non-residents can only buy a quarter-ounce or less.)

But people need to remember that the drugs become illegal again after leaving the state. That means even if the marijuana was purchased legally in Colorado, an individual can be arrested and face charges after driving or flying into another state where possession of any amount of marijuana is still a criminal offense.

Talk to an experienced criminal defense lawyer in your area for more information on Colorado’s recreational marijuana law and how to avoid any trouble with the law.

Source: The Kansas City Star, “Some note an uptick in marijuana busts near the Colorado border,” Tony Rizzo, Feb. 12, 2014

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