Attentive readers following the never ending drama associated with Washington State and it’s flirtation with Marijuana, may have noticed an interesting news article recently. Currently, a nice family from Colorado is suing the state of Idaho for pulling them over for no reason other than they had Colorado license plates on their car. A marijuana fishing stop, after all, the odds are pretty good they were holding. Well, according to news reports anyway. Colorado is just crazy for the stuff. The Idaho traffic cop was playing the odds. Good ones to boot.
I don’t blame Idaho. And by extension, any other of the non-toking states. It is going to be great revenue. Washington and Colorado are not the only states with local towns and counties hurting for money. They want to give raises to their public employees, fund their ever thirsty schools - just as we do.
A car with Colorado license plates, and very shortly, Washington state license plates, is ripe-low-hanging economic fruit. . Despite the rosy picture our state is trying to paint to the general public, marijuana possession is still a federal felony crime.
Marijuana will be flowing south through Oregon and into California from Washington state. The smart ones will stay off I-5. For a while anyway. Marijuana will be flowing through the Idaho panhandle into Montana and the Dakotas. Now, comes the out-of-state police decision. Do you go after the obvious — the vehicles driven by kids? Or is it more profitable to go after nicer cars? After all, if I was smuggling, I would try and not look like a smuggler. Oh, what-the-heck, I’d pull ‘em all over. Within a year, every local police department will be driving slick new cars, formally owned by Washington state residents.
A vehicle pulled over traveling through Idaho, with marijuana found in a glove box forgotten by someone, or a loose joint on the back seat floor board — now not only will subject the driver to fines and court costs of between $5,000 - $20,000 dollars, but seizure of the vehicle itself. Over an ounce, in most states, and you are a distributor and you can forget bail.
It’s a Saturday afternoon, your son or daughter is driving a few friends across the state through Idaho and Montana to Yellowstone National Park. It’s a nice, newer safe car with Washington state license plates. Do I really have to ask what the odds are one of those kids in the back seat is going to be holding? Do we really have to pretend it isn’t going to be everywhere? With the controls society has lifted, kids, and some adults as well, will begin to think possession is normal. After a time, it will slip their mind.
The industry that will develop in across the West Coast, seizing vehicles and racking up felony possession fines, may very well outstrip the money collected by Washington state in their taxing of the product.
In a few months, we here in Grays Harbor are now going to be profiled, no matter where we go in the United States. We will be pulled over. Lives will be ruined.
Julieanna Chilman a fifth grader at Simpson Elementary here in Montesan,, wrote in her column here in The Vidette recently that she did not understand why the adults in the area would inflict such a dangerous drug into the community and attempt to normalize it. It really is quite simple to answer: Some people don’t care who or what gets hurt. All they care about is getting high.
Tom Frederiksen grew up in Montesano and lives here today with an active blog at montesanotoday.com. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.