The University of Nebraska – Omaha study shows that the state’s marijuana related arrests and law enforcement costs have increased in Colorado’s first year of legalized recreational marijuana use. Dr. Ryan Spohn is the director of the Nebraska Center for Justice Research and says Nebraska’s marijuana arrest rate increased by about 11% between 2013 and 2014.
Dr. Spohn says, “We can’t say that what happened in Colorado is driving what we are seeing in Nebraska but we can look at the border counties differently than the rest of the state. We’re seeing they did see jumps in both possession arrests and sale arrests in counties that are on the border. We saw some changes in rates of arrest on I-80. In general, what we are seeing as far as increases they are more substantial for possession arrests than they are for sale and manufacturing.”
Dr. Spohn says there are some interesting results regarding the number of sale arrests. He says the number of sale arrests across the entire state of Nebraska is lower than it was in any year other than 2013 except along border counties. The study shows in 2013 there were only 19 arrests for sale on border counties and in 2014 that increased to 42.
Counties along the interstate, and to a lesser extent those along the Colorad0 border, have been the most affected by increases in marijuana related jail admissions. Nebraska spent an estimated $10.2-million on enforcement of marijuana laws in 2014. That is an 11.6% increase from dollars spent in 2013. Counties along I-80 were responsible for the majority of the increase.
This report is available online and will be distributed to state senators.