NORTH PLATTE, Neb.-- Legalized marijuana in Colorado is not leaving Nebraska untouched.
In the evidence room at the Lincoln County Sheriff's Office, boxes and bags are filled with seized marijuana. Chief Deputy Roland Kramer says, for law enforcement, finding pot during a traffic stop is a daily occurrence.
"We've noticed a sharp increase in the last several years. Sometimes we have more, "Driving under the Influence of Drugs," charges for a weekend than alcohol and that's alarming," Kramer noted. "Personally, I've had traffic stops where I get out of the car and we can smell raw marijuana or burnt marijuana emitting from the ... vehicle."
Kramer says that his main concern with marijuana is that the drug can so easily get into the hands of kids who will start to form bad habits.
"I have a whole jail full of people who were once not addicted to anything and I can tell you a vast majority of them that are addicts that went on to harder drugs started with marijuana," Kramer noted. "It's truly a gateway drug."
Kramer notes that a study from Smart Approaches to Marijuana suggests a link between crime and legalized pot. Statistics indicate that the crime rate in Colorado has increased 11 times faster since the legalization of marijuana.
Kramer hopes that Nebraska will not see the same rise in crime as a neighboring state to Colorado.
To see the research from Smart Approaches to Marijuana , click here.