N. Idaho law enforcement braces for retail marijuana in Washington




Posted on January 3, 2014 at 8:27 PM

Updated Friday, Jan 3 at 9:07 PM

KOOTENAI COUNTY, Idaho-- The upcoming marijuana sales in Washington, happening as early as Spring 2014, raised concerns for law enforcement agents across the border in Idaho.

Lieutenant Stu Miller of Kootenai County Sheriff’s Office said he is bracing himself for the possibility that Idaho residents will gain access to the drug when pot shops open.

“The biggest concern is that they will think it is legal in Washington, which is 19 miles from Coeur d’Alene,” he said. “That they’re just going to walk it across the border.”

Police said since the possession of marijuana was legalized in Washington, people have already brought small amounts into Idaho not thinking it’s a problem however Idaho laws still apply.

Possession of less than three ounces of marijuana is a misdemeanor and more is a felony under Idaho law.

Idaho residents can legally purchase and smoke marijuana in Washington as long as they don’t bring it across the border according to Idaho police. Idaho residents can also drive with marijuana in their system so long as they are not driving impaired.

Lieutenant Miller said drivers can be arrested for being too impaired.

“I think that’s one of our challenges that we’re going to have, is that we’re going to see more DUI type patrols in the future,” he said. “More DUI type offenses in the future, which is going to relate to us having to do something to step up our enforcement of those statutes.”

Officials said Washington received some applications for retail shops in places such as Liberty Lake and Newman Lake, which are just miles from the Idaho border in Spokane County.