POCATELLO, Idaho - Recreational marijuana is now legal in Colorado, joining Washington State, while Oregon has medicinal marijuana. Blaine County Republicans also submitted (in committee) So with marijuana use increasing in nearby states, is Idaho seeing an increase of the drug in our area?
Sergeant Mike Winans said as long as there has been marijuana in Idaho, there have been people getting arrested for possession and drug trafficking. However, they are seeing new trends.
"What we are seeing more frequently is people who are trafficking large amounts of it," Winans said. "So they're passing through the state or they're actually bringing it to the state."
Winans said it's not called the Gate City for no reason - Idaho State Police say meth, marijuana and other drugs come through the area going to other places, but some of it does stay here.
"But there are instances of people who know they can make a profit by buying it in a state where it's legal, and bringing to a state like Idaho, where it's illegal."
He also said a lot of people tend to get caught up in the debate of whether marijuana should or should not be legalized in Idaho.
"Sometimes people are a little confused at the job of a police officer. I've heard comments like, "'Why are you guys spending so much time enforcing laws pertaining to marijuana when it should be legal?'"
But Winans said it's his job to uphold the law, plain and simple. He also said possessing three ounces of marijuana or more is a felony and can lead to serious fines and jail time.
"Whether they get that or not is entirely out of my hands," Winons said. "They are breaking the law."
He also said it's important to remember that possession itself is just one charge. If you're driving with marijuana in your system, you're considered under the influence.
"Regardless of a person's personal stance on marijuana, in Idaho the law of the land is that it's still illegal regardless of the amount."