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State/Region

January 2, 2014

State expecting more marijuana

BOISE CITY — Oklahoma authorities are bracing for an influx of marijuana after a new law took effect Wednesday in Colorado legalizing the recreational sale of the drug.

Cimarron County, which shares a border with Colorado, has seen a steady flow of marijuana coming from Colorado for several years, Sheriff Bob White said. The sheriff told The Oklahoman that it doesn’t take drivers long to cross through his county in the Panhandle en route to Texas from Colorado.

“There’s nothing here to attract anybody to stop,” White said.

The Colorado law allows adults 21 and older to buy marijuana at state-sanctioned retail stores, and state regulations forbid businesses from advertising in places where children are likely see the pitches. Only a few dozen shops statewide opened for recreational sales on New Year’s Day.

Police in the eight Colorado towns allowing recreational pot sales stepped up patrols of dispensaries in case of unruly crowds. Denver International Airport placed signs warning fliers they can’t take the drug home in their suitcases.

One of the closest licensed marijuana retailers to the Oklahoma border is Marisol Therapeutics in Pueblo, Colo., about a 3 1/2 hour drive from Boise City in Cimarron County. The shop’s owner, Michael Stetler, said earlier this week that he’d received calls from throughout the country and internationally.

Mark Woodward, a spokesman for the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs Control, said Oklahoma will likely see more marijuana because of the law change in Colorado. He said the state saw a boost in activity after Colorado legalized medical marijuana in 2010.

“We started seeing shipments of high-grade marijuana coming from Colorado into Oklahoma,” Woodward said. “The concern is that it’s only going to get worse.”

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