Marijuana profiling of Colorado cars happened to me twice in one trip, says Westword writer
In writing about the marijuana-possession arrest of Brighton's Brian Unbehaun last month, we explored claims that cars with Colorado plates are being profiled in other states because of our marijuana laws. Since then, more profiling anecdotes have rolled in amid related reports, like a TV station piece about an alleged drug pipeline between Colorado and Nebraska. Now, however, we've got the best evidence yet that such profiling is a thing thanks to Westworder Britt Chester, who was stopped and hassled not once but twice, in two separate states, during a cross-country trip last week.
More photos below.
Chester is well-known to readers of our Backbeat blog for his concert reviews and photography, and he's occasionally ventured into The Latest Word, too, as in a December post about his arrest for skateboarding -- a dust-up that resulted in him posing for one of the sweetest-ever mug shots under his given name, Jonathan Chester.
Despite his love for Colorado, though, Chester recently decided to move back to his home state of North Carolina to be closer to his family, among other things -- and last week, he and a pal set out for the journey in a truck with Colorado license plates. But they didn't get far before they ran afoul of the law.
Britt Chester's excellent 2012 mug shot.
"We were about halfway through Kansas when a state trooper pulled us over," Chester says.
On what pretext?
"Driving in the left lane," he replies. "I didn't even know that was a law, but the trooper said that in the past couple of years, they've made driving in the left lane illegal unless you're passing. We weren't speeding -- we were just driving in the left lane."
Not that this appears to have been the real reason Chester captured the trooper's attention.
"He was really nice -- one of the nicest law-enforcement officers I've ever met," he notes. "And he said, 'Hey, listen, a lot of people are trafficking marijuana out of Colorado. Some of it's for medical purposes, some of it's for profit. Do you mind if I look in your truck?'"
As the mug shot above indicates, Chester has had some experience interacting with the authorities, and he understood that he didn't have to allow his truck to be searched. But while he's been known to enjoy the occasional bud, "I knew we didn't have anything on us," he says. "We had some rolling papers, but there was no pot, no paraphernalia. So we said, 'Okay.'"
The trooper looked around, and when he didn't see anything untoward, he allowed Chester and friend to be on their way. But the failure to catch them riding dirty wouldn't dissuade him from using the same technique in the future.
"He said they were keeping their eye out for Colorado plates," Chester recalls.
His brethren further east were doing likewise, as Chester discovered upon hitting Tennessee.
Continue for more of Britt Chester's account of marijuana profiling.