LINCOLN (AP) — Authorities say Colorado apparently has more medical marijuana than it can use, and some of the excess is showing up in Nebraska — illegally.
Scottsbluff Police Alex Moreno told the Lincoln Journal Star that the Colorado pot has shown up in his town and around Sidney. Moreno coordinates a drug task force in 11 counties of the Nebraska Panhandle.
Licensed patients in Colorado can have 2 ounces of usable marijuana and no more than three mature plants. But because the plants can produce up to a pound each, the surplus could reach into dozens of tons.
"It's not like a tidal wave, but it's here and there based on reports I received from officers assigned to the drug task force," Moreno said.
Scotts Bluff Deputy County Attorney Scott Blaha said he is getting ready to prosecute a case involving Colorado marijuana, so he's sure medical marijuana has reached the area.
The pot is showing up in traffic stops, too.
Lt. Lance Rogers of the Nebraska State Patrol says travelers often have cards that say they can legally possess the pot in Colorado. But, he says, Nebraska doesn't have such a law, so the Coloradoans are cited.
Rogers said troopers are finding people with medical marijuana from Colorado 2-4 times a month. As long as the amount of the drug is small, troopers will typically write a ticket, seize the marijuana and send drivers on their way.
Law enforcement officials say it appears that local drug dealers may be trying to capitalize on Colorado's booming medical marijuana business. In July, investigators found several bags of marijuana along with more than 100 Ecstasy pills and a bag of illegal mushrooms.
Court records say one of the bags of marijuana was labeled "medical" with a black marker. Blaha says that "medical" label may have been an attempt by a local dealer who wanted to sell his lower-grade drugs at a higher price.