On Special Assignment

Feb 20, 2013 4:41 PM by Dennis Bragg - KPAX News

Missoula law enforcement wary, watching legal marijuana in NW

MISSOULA- With Washington wrestling through implementation of new rules making make marijuana use legal in the Evergreen State, Montana law enforcement is taking a watchful, put not alarmed, attitude about the new laws to the west.

When Washington voters made marijuana legal in November, it changed the landscape of marijuana use, and dealing throughout the region.

The rule change means there is now legally obtainable pot just a little two hours away from Missoula and Western Montana. But chief law enforcement officers here say they aren't sure that the new Washington laws mean that much of a change here in Montana.

That's because Missoula has been on the I-90 "pipeline" for marijuana trafficking for years. So there's no new special effort to counter the Washington law change, although there will be continued diligence.

"Missoula has, for 40, 50-years been right on that I-90 corridor for drugs and transport. And has been kind of a focal point for that anyway. So we're not really anticipating that there's going to be a significant difference just because Washington decided to change some of their laws. It's certainly possible. But I doubt it because there's a lot of that stuff that rolls through here anyway," Missoula County Sheriff Carl Ibsen said.

"Here in Montana there aren't any of our agencies that I'm aware of that are actually working in a task force setting with agencies across a state border," added Missoula Police Chief Mark Muir.

During the Wednesday 10:00 News, we'll find out how Western Montana law enforcement will be dealing with people who might think Washington's new law changes prosecution for marijuana possession here.

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