background_fid.jpg
Regional Public Journalism
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations
Crime, Law and Justice
In 2012, Washington and Colorado voters made history when they approved measures to legalize recreational marijuana. Washington Initiative 502 “authorizes the state liquor board to regulate and tax marijuana for persons twenty-one years of age or older.”Since the vote in Washington, the Liquor Board has written a complex set of rules for the state’s new, legal recreational cannabis marketplace. The agency has also set limits on the amount of marijuana that can be grown. And the Board has begun to license growers, processors and retailers.For now, the Obama administration has signaled it will not interfere with Washington and Colorado’s legal pot experiment, unless there is evidence that legal pot is “leaking” to other states or children are getting access to the legal product. The feds are also watching to see if criminal organizations exploit the legal market.The first marijuana retail stores in Washington opened in July 2014.Recreational marijuana is also set to become legal in Oregon on July 1, 2015 after voters approved Measure 91 in November 2014.

Does Legalized Marijuana Put Washington Drivers At Risk Out Of State?

traffic_stop.jpg
Ildar Sagdejev
/
Wikimedia
File photo. At least two Washington drivers say they were pulled over in Idaho on suspicion of using marijuana.

Some drivers from Washington and Colorado say they're being targeted by police when they cross into Idaho.

They claim it’s because their license plate shows they live two states that have legal marijuana, but that’s a hard thing to prove.

At least two Washington drivers say they were pulled over in Idaho on suspicion of using marijuana. In both cases pot was not found and they were let go.

Mary Fan, a law professor at the University of Washington, says it would be really hard to prove that they were profiled because of their license plate.

"It's often the case that officers if they wanted to pull someone over, they could find a traffic law as a basis if they just waited long enough or watched long enough."

Fan says it’s hard to prove racial profiling because you have to show that a demographic is being disproportionately targeted. License plate profiling would be even harder to prove under that criteria.

Still, one Colorado man is trying to do that. He’s filed a federal lawsuit against the Idaho State Police after he was pulled over last year.