CASPER, Wyo. - Wyoming is bracing for increased marijuana crimes because of Colorado's new constitutional amendment allowing anyone over 21 to use the drug.
The Casper Star-Tribune reported Tuesday that police officers predict increased cannabis flow through Wyoming because of the Colorado pot law. The newspaper points out that no point in Wyoming is more than 180 miles from Colorado or Montana, which allows marijuana for people with certain medical conditions.
"With Wyoming being a neighboring state, I would suspect you'll see an increase in marijuana use," said Tom Gorman, director of the Rocky Mountain High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area program.
Under current Wyoming state law, anyone arrested for possessing up to an ounce of the drug could face up to a year in jail or up to a $1,000 fine.
Casper Defense Attorney Jakob Norman doesn't necessarily foresee more arrests in the area, but he predicts that more people traveling to Colorado to smoke will result in more indirect consequences.
"With so many Wyomingites traveling to Colorado, I think we'll see an increase in people getting in trouble for testing hot," he said. This could affect those who are on probation or who have employers who regularly impose drug tests.
Wyoming lawmakers said they're not expecting any change to state marijuana laws to be proposed in the upcoming legislative session. And Rep. Tim Stubson, R-Casper, said no bills are slated to be brought forth in the upcoming session either.
"There have been some conversations, generally about how they deal with marijuana coming over the state line," he said.
Casper City Councilman Keith Goodenough has been unsuccessfully pushing for marijuana reform for years. He said he doubts state laws will change much in the upcoming years.
"The law-and-order angle trumps a lot of it. Conservatives are generally very supportive of passing laws enforcing crime," he said. "Wyoming has always been a conservative place, and existing institutions don't change very quickly."