Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt released the “Colorado Marijuana Report.”
Schmidt collected data from district attorneys, sheriffs and chiefs of police around the State of Kansas.
The Colorado Marijuana Report showed there was actually less cannabis confiscated in 2015 than there was in 2013.
The survey showed that multiples counties are having problems finding jurors that will prosecute cannabis charges.
Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt has decided to take off the gloves to continue his fight against Colorado cannabis full-force. The State of Kansas still refuses to budge on their propaganda based view of cannabis. Instead of evaluating the positives of legalizing cannabis, Kansas is still trying to find ways to prove other states legal cannabis is hurting the Sunflower State.
Anecdotal accounts spawn survey to see the impact of Colorado’s legalization on Kansas.
At the beginning of the year, Schmidt stated that “numerous and persistent anecdotal accounts of marijuana acquired in Colorado and illegally transported into Kansas causing harm here.”
These “anecdotal reports” were enough to give Schmidt the bright idea to do a survey across the state. The goal of the survey was to show just how badly Kansas’ marijuana problem has become since January 1, 2014, when Colorado went legal.
Schmidt sent out a request for information to all county and district attorneys, sheriffs and chiefs of police around the State of Kansas. In total, over 500 surveys were sent out. Schmidt stated, “We’re approaching this unprecedented situation methodically so we can assess and then, if needed, address the actual problems.”
The end goal of all these surveys being the “Colorado Marijuana Report.” A collection of data that would prove the damage that Colorado cannabis is doing to Kansas. The surveys included a list of questions in relation to interactions that could be directly connected to cannabis that was brought into Colorado from Kansas.
One question was how many Child in Need of Care cases the state has seen in regards to Colorado marijuana, even though the Kansas Department for Children and Families claim they do not remove children for marijuana alone. Those involved in the survey claimed 19 children were placed in a CINC case due to marijuana from Colorado.
The rise of high-grade cannabis.
Almost a year after Schmidt sent out his surveys, the results are back, and they do not look good for Schmidt’s argument. Schmidt’s office released, “‘Legalization’ of Marijuana in Colorado: The Impact on Kansas.” Unfortunately for Schmidt, the data does not appear to show Colorado’s devil grass having much of an impact on Kansas at all.
The survey claims to show that Colorado cannabis is prevalent throughout Kansas, and that the legalization in Colorado has replaced lower grade commercial cannabis that once owned the market. While to an extent those claims can ring true, it is impossible to attempt to pick one factor when so many important factors come in to play.
Other factors that have contributed to the rise of high-grade cannabis.
Before even looking at the results of this survey, Schmidt seems completely ignorant to many relevant issues that added to the rise of high-grade cannabis, and the fall of the commercial market.
Over the years, the cultivation of cannabis has grown thanks to the help of the Internet. There was a time that buying a book on growing cannabis felt just as taboo as buying porn. Not to mention that cities around the country have claimed to be the victim of police harassment for purchasing books on cultivating marijuana.
That all changed once growers had the ability to share information about properly growing cannabis. Contrary to popular believe, growing great cannabis consists of more than just sticking a seed in dirt and dumping some water on it. When you mix the ability to obtain information on cultivation with the rewards of growing your own, it is no surprise more people have turned to growing.
One of the biggest factors stems back to the cartels. When people began to see how much more enjoyable finely grown cannabis was in comparison to ditch weed, the Mexican commercial weed market plummeted. Sure you can still find smokers these days that prefer to buy cheaper cannabis, but they are a dying breed.
When the cannabis market began changing, the cartels had no choice but to change with it. This brought problems for non-violent cannabis growers, as more aggressive cartels began expanding throughout Northern California and other areas to ensure they could grow good crops. In all reality, moving forward with legalization would help make the industry safer by forcing the cartels out.
Schmidt seems to be blind to the fact that Kansas had a quite open supply to high-grade cannabis before Colorado made the switch to legal. While these days high-grade is much more prominent, it has been in Kansas for a number of years.
Schmidt may have also never heard of Golden Goat. A Sativa-dominant strain that exploded on the medical marijuana scene in 2013. Golden Goat is the result of a Hawaiian Romulan male pollinating a Mr. Dank’s Island Sweet Skunk mother. The strain won the heart of medical users around the country, and was created in none other than, Topeka, Kansas. So Kansas was actually the birthplace for a strain that gained recognition around the country a year before Colorado went legal.
The Colorado Marijuana Report.
According to the Colorado Marijuana Report, the Kansas Highway Patrol’s total amount of cannabis seizures dropped 27, from 243 in 2013 to 216 in 2015. The total marijuana weight confiscated dropped over 2,500 pounds, from 6,187 in 2013 to 3,769 in 2015.
Edibles impact on Kansas.
Schmidt is attempting to use edibles and wax as evidence of the impact on Kansas. The data gathered showed there were 0 arrests in 2013, compared to 32 in 2015. Another reason for this could be the lack of knowledge of edibles and officers not being trained to look for them. We do have to consider the fact that edibles and extracts have been around since before Schmidt was even born.
Making edibles and extracts can be a task that many do not feel like putting their energy into making, but generally enjoy consuming. Medical cannabis did help to open new doors in regards to edibles and extracts.
Not every medical patient can handle the task of smoking cannabis to reap its benefits. This encouraged cannabis advocates to find new and safer ways to ingest it. Edibles were a simple solution to a simple problem, but they play a very significant role in the cannabis industry, especially in the medicinal aspect.
While Colorado appears to be the easiest solution for Kansas residents to purchase edibles, the industry is growing as a whole. Meaning, regardless of the origin; it is expected that we will see a rise in edibles and extracts as people become more informed on different ways of ingesting cannabis.
The Colorado Marijuana Report lacked to provide sufficient evidence of Colorado’s cannabis directly impacting Kansas.
The KHP claim that just under half of the cannabis caught in Kansas is coming from Colorado, but goes on to say that officers are “suspecting” most of the marijuana coming into Kansas from Colorado. The biggest problem with trying to blame Colorado for supplying Kansas’ demand for cannabis is that officers have no solid way to track the origins of cannabis they find.
KHP also makes the claim that they have stopped large amounts of “marijuana-related cash.” The large amounts of cash were said to be five seizures of over $10,000, and one seizure of over $80,000. Not even a dent in the estimated $141.80 billion illegal marijuana market.
Law enforcement agencies also responded to the same general questions. Dodge City Police was only able to confirm one case of possession as originating from Colorado, but their detectives guess that in reality, 90% of their marijuana is coming from there.
Topeka police, home of the powerful Golden Goat strain, say the same as Dodge City. While they can only prove seven possession cases stem from Colorado, they are pretty confident that is where the majority of their cannabis originates.
A mixed response from prosecutors.
While police departments around the State of Kansas gave their theories on Colorado flooding Kansas with Cannabis, a surprising answer came out of the Hamilton County Prosecutor.
Since I serve in Hamilton County, which borders Colorado, I expected a significant increase in marijuana cases as a result of legalization in Colorado. Surprisingly, this is not the case. I do not believe that Colorado legalizing marijuana has impacted my county in any meaningful way.
The Johnson County District Attorney’s Office claims to have seen an “increase in edibles, which has led to overdose.” The study does not go into detail on what the definition of “overdose” is, but since there are no deaths attributed to cannabis alone on record, we can only speculate that a few people ate too many edibles and felt a bit nauseous.
Judges around the state, for the most part, appear to be prosecuting marijuana cases the same. However, some counties reported that they have judges that are acting more lenient towards personal possession cases, given the nature of the crime.
Kansas is seeing problems finding jurors that will prosecute marijuana cases.
The legalization in Colorado has caused the people to start to wake up and realize the failed war on cannabis that Kansas wants to perpetuate does more harm than good.
Prospective jurors in voir dire are more likely “to express acceptance of marijuana use and to state an opinion that marijuana should be legalized,” the data reads. The Leavenworth County Attorney’s Office stated they had seen a decline in jurors willingness to convict in marijuana cases.
It is now very common for jurors to either acquit or to convict of lesser-included Marijuana offenses even when the evidence is strong or overwhelming.
Some officers around the state have also admitted that they no longer make an arrest for smaller possession charges. Instead, they will make the person dump their cannabis out on the ground. The KHP said that most of their “Colorado marijuana” cases are misdemeanor cases. KHP does not arrest for these misdemeanor possession charges, and then choose who is prosecuted.
Survey gives impression that Kansas may be ready to move forward with cannabis.
The survey gives the impression that Kansas is becoming more open to the idea of moving forward with cannabis, instead of standing against it. Well, except for the people who hold power over the state.
Despite the State of Kansas constantly living in a budget crisis, stubborn Republican mentality encourages the state to ignore Colorado’s financial success and repetitively try and force failed ideas to work. Kansas leaders appear to honestly believe that their residents do not see the outdated cannabis propaganda for what it is.
Kansas has also been losing residents to more progressive states at an alarming rate. The reasons stem from better jobs to the medical use of cannabis. The State of Kansas has made it quite clear over the years that there is not enough proof of cannabis being medically beneficial.
Multiple pro-medical cannabis groups have tried to get their state representatives to listen to their pleas for the chance to try a safer medication, only to have their pleas fall on deaf ears.