CHEYENNE — The impact on Cheyenne of Colorado’s new law allowing the recreational use of marijuana isn’t known yet because the neighboring state is still working on rules to govern sales, the city’s police chief says.

However, Cheyenne Police Chief Brian Kozak made clear Tuesday night he doesn’t expect the impact to be beneficial for law enforcement or the community.

Kozak said law enforcement officers in Colorado are not arresting people for possessing small amounts of marijuana. But they are arresting people for driving under the influence of marijuana if they are impaired.

He noted that heavier use of marijuana in Colorado is keeping federal Drug Enforcement Administration agents busy with postal interdictions or the interception of marijuana shipments to other states for sale.

In 2012, agents seized 274 Colorado shipments destined for 37 states compared to 54 shipments in 2005, Kozak said. Each shipment averaged four pounds of marijuana.

The police chief presented a seminar Tuesday night on the pros and cons of marijuana legalization to a diverse group of about 30 people at the Kiwanis Community House.

The audience included parents and about half a dozen proponents of legalizing marijuana for medical use. The medical marijuana supporters wore brown T-shirts with a green “Weed Wyoming” logo.

Kozak explained the signs of marijuana use including bloodshot eyes and impaired motor skills, such as the inability to touch your finger to your nose.

He also cited various statistics showing the effect on Colorado of the relaxed marijuana law, including an increase in the number of students who said they smoked marijuana within the past 30 days and a boost in the potency of the drug.

Kozak’s biggest objection to the legalization of marijuana is the prospect of more users driving while impaired.

“The drivers think they’re fine,” Kozak said.

The police chief is concerned that legalization will encourage young people to believe marijuana use is OK.

He also said the state has yet to get a handle on drivers impaired by alcohol, noting the sentences in Wyoming for DUI offenses are too lenient compared to other states.

“One of the first things the state needs to do is to strengthen DUI laws for alcohol and drugs,” Kozak said.

Kozak said abuse of prescription drugs is another major problem.

One of the meeting’s attendees was Charlie Lake of Casper. He is the founder and executive director of “Weed the People,” a nonprofit group promoting the legalization of marijuana for medical use.

Lake said after the meeting that opponents are ignoring research on the drug.

He said his group has about 1,500 members in several chapters around the state who will work on a bill to legalize medical marijuana.

Lake said the bill will be presented to voters as a ballot initiative in the 2016 general election.

“We have way too much work to be done,” Lake said.

Contact capital bureau reporter Joan Barron at 307-632-1244 or joan.barron@trib.com.

(10) comments

Steven
Steven

Once again, a law enforcement official spouts half truths and nonsense to justify continued persecution of medical marijuana users and imprisonment of recreational pot users.
Science and medicine continues to prove that marijuana is not only a harmless natural herb, but also a powerful medicinal agent which is beneficial in treating numerous conditions.
The time has come to reject such backward thinking and legalize marijuana in Wyoming.

WhatTha
WhatTha

Preach. The problem is coming from the folks who want to keep it illegal. Police believe and spread half truths and lies. Can't touch your finger to your nose? Are you serious? I could have done that at any "stage" of a marijuana high. It's like a computer tech spitting out buzz words....people THINK they know what their talking about and will just agree so they don't look like they are stupid. It's time for people to wake up and see whats happening. First and for most...the money to be had for state benefit....the redirection of assets and funding...the open market place for people to grow, harvest/process, and create goods from said plants. The money is endless and is just another tax avenue for states to have larger budgets. But do these people see that? Nope. Their near sighted neanderthals that think they have it down...half of them problem don't even know how to operate a darn smart phone.

Sassy
Sassy

Ridiculous News

thehousemouse
thehousemouse

hes an idiot anyway. his cowboy hat is screwed on to tight.

WhatTha
WhatTha

Yep. The times are changing. The people who fight it are left behind......like Wyoming...the last place anything real happens.

Hemlockroid
Hemlockroid

If you can't touch your nose w/your finger>your smokin the right shet. ps All blood draws need a warrant.

The Dude Abides
The Dude Abides

It's in the best interest of law enforcement folks to continue spreading "Reefer Madness" propaganda. After all, about 75% of their business involves marijuana "crimes." Just think of all the tax dollars that could be saved (or directed toward public works and education) if the government wasn't spending so much money on cops, courts, and jail. When the California pot initiative was on the ballot, it was the police lobby who fought the hardest against it because their union figured that legalized pot would translate into a 25-50% reduction in force for the various state law enforcement agencies throughout the state.

chas holman
chas holman

Obviously this officer is a guy who hates states rights and feels he need be part of the 'nanny state' that tells you what you can and can not do with your own self.

It would behoove him to find a big bed to hide under until after the Apocalypse.

Micky
Micky

Let me dish out some news to Mr. Cheyenne Police Chief. They are already here, already driving on the roads, and have been for many years. Same people, still doing it and you may even know some of them as a friend. Your worries are irrational. Time to wake up and smell the marijuana that is already all around you, purchased legally or not. States are legalizing because they are getting their facts straight and know there is so much more that this plant can provide instead of filling up their prisons with otherwise (mostly) innocent people. Make it legal. Take the cartel element out of the picture. Make some money for the state.

Cowboy Joe
Cowboy Joe

Another dinosaur preaches the world is flat.

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