Neb. law officials: Colo. should help cover cost of local drug enforcement

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LINCOLN, Neb. — Nebraska law officers have expressed frustration with the increasing cases of drug enforcement since Colorado legalized recreational marijuana on Jan. 1.

Officers across the border in Colorado’s neighboring state are upset that Nebraska taxpayers are left with the expense of  jailing, prosecuting and defending people arrested on possession of pot brought over from Colorado, according to the Omaha World-Herald. Rather, law enforcement suggested Colorado taxpayers foot the bill.

While medicinal and recreational marijuana use is legal in Colorado, it is still considered an illegal substance, as mandated by federal law, in Nebraska and the other six states surrounding Colorado.

Adam Hayward, a Deuel County Sheriff in Chappell, Neb., told the Omaha World-Herald that while politicians in Lincoln are hesitant to get involved with the debate, some local law enforcement officials are talking about making Colorado responsible for these financial ramifications.

“I don’t know what it will take to get someone to stand up and do something to try to get some of our money back,” said Hayward.

Attorney General Jon Bruning also commented on the issue. He couldn’t can’t confirm whether or not the state will take Colorado to court. But he said that Colorado’s change in law is creating problems for Nebraska, so he wouldn’t rule it out.

Despite laws restricting people from transporting Colorado pot over state borders, Nebraska authorities said it’s a problem as Interstate 80 appears to be an easy transit route for those moving marijuana out of Colorado.

Anthony Schutz, an associate professor at the University of Nebraska College of Law in Lincoln, told the Omaha World-Herald there may be other options than suing, like getting Colorado to share some of the marijuana tax revenue.

Another option, he said, would be for the federal government to shut down recreational pot sales across the nation.

Colorado Rep. Amy Stephens, a Republican from Monument, proposed legislation to provide financial aid to bordering states, reported the Omaha paper. However, the bill never made it out of the General Assembly’s House Appropriations Committee.

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