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How legal pot in Colorado may impact Kansas

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November 07, 2012|By Jim Grawe | KWCH 12 Eyewitness News

(WICHITA, Kan.) — In Colorado, marijuana supporters are celebrating after voters approved a constitutional amendment legalizing recreational marijuana use.

"I would rather see them legalize marijuana than alcohol," Colorado resident Gary Dockins says.

Dockins and his sister, Susy Perez, were passing through Kansas the day after the election.

"I didn't vote," Perez says.  "Most of my friends did, and they did vote yes."

But Wallace County Sheriff Larry Townsend is among those wondering if what happens in Colorado will stay in Colorado.  His county borders Colorado.

"People going to Colorado and using what is an illegal drug in our state--we are going to be dealing with them coming back," Townsend says.


The sheriff says people will not only be driving Colorado pot into Kansas, but he suspects they'll also be high at the time.  Townsend says that will mean more traffic accidents.  He says it's not like testing for alcohol--there's only one officer in his three-county area certified to do on-the-spot drug tests.

Michael Birzer heads up the Criminology Department at Wichita State.  He doesn't expect Colorado's legalized pot to be a problem in Kansas.  He says it may actually reduce crime by keeping people from buying their pot from illegal drug dealers.

However, Sheriff Townsend believes it'll mean more marijuana use in Kansas, and he sees nothing good about that.

How legal pot in Colorado will impact Kansas.
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