Nebraska Attorney General Doug Peterson is taking his case against legalized marijuana to Washington, D.C.
Members of the U.S. Senate Caucus on International Narcotics Control invited him and others to testify at a hearing entitled “Is the Department of Justice Adequately Protecting the Public from the Impact of State Recreational Marijuana Legalization?”
Peterson says without the Department of Justice enforcing federal drug laws, marijuana spillover from states that allow recreational use will continue.
“It’s obvious the diversion (of marijuana) is rampant,” Peterson said in his opening statement. “I think the Rocky Mountain (High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area’s) Report certainly indicates that several states are receiving the Colorado marijuana. It could be Colorado, Washington, Oregon, or California. There’s no question this industry is growing.”
The Rocky Mountain Report shows Colorado had a 32% jump in marijuana-related traffic fatalities, increases in emergency-room visits and hospitalizations, and greater pot usage by 12 to 17 year olds.
Peterson told caucus members that besides the impact on human health, Nebraska communities are facing financial problems trying to keep drugs out of the state.
“They don’t have the resources. They barely have the resources in a lot of these counties just to get by with their burdens,” he said. “When we add to this the traffic of marijuana coming through – not only passing through the counties, but also within the residents and the young people in the counties – it’s put quite a burden on them.”
Peterson says the worst impact is that it is easier for teenagers to get marijuana, but the federal government cannot stop it because “it’s not large enough to them.”
“I can tell you story after story of young people who’ve had the ability, either through a sibling or someone else going to Colorado; high school students gathering up their money and sending a buyer into Colorado and bringing the edibles back or bringing the product back, and it’s a very, very strong product,” Peterson said.
The Department of Justice has left it up to the states that legalize marijuana to regulate and enforce drug laws and prevent it from getting to minors.