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Pot profiling: Are Kansas cops targeting rental vehicles with Colorado license plates?

no.pot.license.plate.large.jpg
More photos below.
For more than a year, we've been reporting on the subject of pot profiling -- claims that drivers in vehicles with Colorado license plates are regularly being stopped in other states on a variety of shaky pretexts for marijuana searches.

Our latest story comes from a man who was stopped in Kansas while driving a rental truck because his registration supposedly didn't match his Colorado license plate -- except that it did. Is this a new strategy? There's conflicting information about that.

Daniel Huling tells us that he and a friend were driving from Ohio to Kansas last November in an Enterprise rental truck towing a trailer when "I started seeing all these cops on the side of the road. I was wondering what was happening and thought it might be related to what I'd heard was happening with Colorado license plates.

"They were obviously radioing each other, because a cop pulled in front of me two miles down the road," Huling continues. "It was a 75 zone and they were going 55. So I slowed down for a while behind them, then decided to pass them -- but I definitely wasn't speeding when I did. I was only going about 65."

kansas.highway.patrol.jpg
A photo from the Kansas Highway Patrol Facebook page.
Nonetheless, Huling was pulled over, with the Kansas officer informing him "that the plates didn't match the registration," he recalls. "My immediate response was to get upset about the rental company giving us a truck that didn't have matching plates -- but I was also suspicious about being pulled over, since I didn't do anything wrong. So I called 911."

After telling the dispatcher what was happening, "she told me the plates didn't match the registration, and they were doing a routine stop," Huling maintains. "She said they randomly run plates on the highway all the time."

In the meantime, officers on the scene brought out a drug-sniffing dog. One cop subsequently claimed that the dog had alerted to the vehicle, so it would have to be searched.

The search took approximately half an hour. During that time, an officer asked Huling to join him at his cruiser -- and after Huling declined, he could hear the law enforcers talking among themselves about how uncooperative he was being. But the search turned up no marijuana, as Huling knew it wouldn't -- neither he nor his friend had any -- and the pair were eventually allowed to go on their way.

Afterward, Huling says he called Enterprise, and the person with whom he spoke "confirmed that the paperwork was fine and everything matched. And they said they'd been getting a lot of calls like mine -- calls from furious customers from Kansas and a couple of other states where the police were doing the same thing. They were saying the license plates didn't match the rental car registration even when they did. And the cars always seemed to have Colorado license plates."

enterprise.rental.truck.jpg
An Enterprise rental truck.
We contacted Laura Bryant, spokeswoman for Enterprise Holdings, the parent company of Enterprise Rent-a-Car, to find out if this is a systemic issue. Via e-mail, she writes that she reached out to numerous general managers, but none of them was aware of the problem.

Whatever the case, Huling was shaken by the experience.

"It felt pretty militaristic," he says. "The guy was gung-ho, all amped up like an ex-military guy. The whole thing felt like we were in another country. We were just driving down the road, obeying every traffic rule, so to be stopped like that was pretty violating.

"People say, 'If you don't have anything, you have nothing to worry about.' But even talking about it now feels traumatic. It felt like all powers were taken away and you have no rights for anything."

Send your story tips to the author, Michael Roberts.

More from our Marijuana archive: "Pot profiling: Do Alabama cops think everyone from Colorado looks like a drug smuggler?"


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107 comments
warren1015
warren1015

This exact thing happened to me while I was traveling from Indiana to Colorado on I70 west.  The cop slowed down to 20ish miles less per hour on the highway so I passed him.  Cop pulled me over and said I was swaying in the lanes although I was not.  Cop interrogated me for 25 minutes and I asked why I had my window down and I said "because it is summer".  Eventually let me go after he checked my trunk.  Shaddy fucking operation in Kansas.  It gets my blood pressure going every time I think about it. 

muhutdafuga
muhutdafuga topcommenter

What about all that red state meth?  Will Kansas keep that out of Colorado?

"We have already done an article on the fact that the red states take more federal dollars than the blue states. They are the true welfare queens. But still there is a misguided belief by many on the right that liberal states and people are the “freeloaders”. Well, if that wasn’t enough, we now find that meth usage is more prevalent in the red states.

We hear a lot about the South and Midwest, you know, the part that many Republicans call “the Real America.” It’s “more wholesome”. It’s more “family-oriented”. It’s more “religious”. It’s “more self-sufficient”. Well, those all sound like nice bumper stickers but it is also the epicenter of the American meth epidemic. Stick that on your bumper.

- See more at: http://www.reasontopia.com/red-states-meth-states/#sthash.eMaBMeFa.dpuf

Bill Workman
Bill Workman

Same story Westword. You change the states to make it seem relevant. Losers

Cognitive_Dissident
Cognitive_Dissident topcommenter

Note that "the dog had alerted" even though there was no pot. Check out Barry Cooper's "Never Get Busted" DVD (and possibly free online video) where he demonstrates that any handler can fool his dog into alerting when he wishes. This is a serious issue that should be challenged at the Supreme Court level. Then again, to expect justice from them….

Trinda Weymouth
Trinda Weymouth

No. I haven't gone on a road trip, in ages. Definitely would never drive w/ weed or paraphernalia, even in this state where they WILL ticket if it is visible or apparent, on a routine traffic stop.

GodLovesKansas
GodLovesKansas

If you want to see a truly backwards ass, drug war loving group of religious freaks, look no further than Kansas. Who cares what they think? Do they enforce federal immigration laws in Kansas or do they ignore them like the rest of the country? Hypocrites much? The Constitution says that these 'stops' are illegal. Read the 4th Amendment.

Charlie
Charlie

So...They were given BLATANTLY FALSE reasons for being pulled over.  This means that these were not valid stops.  These were civil rights violations.

Brandon Thrift
Brandon Thrift

Got pulled over in Kansas in a rental car that had Massachusetts plates. Once the cop realized I was from Colorado he asked to see what was in the trunk.

Steven M Palmer
Steven M Palmer

Not everyone may smoke but none the less you are now living in a state that is blatantly breaking a federal law as well as the laws of all the states surrounding you. I doubt this scenario ever crossed the minds of those who all too quickly pulled the "yes" lever in the voting booth thinking only how "progressive" it would be to legalize pot. Too bad for all of you as I don't think these stops will ever subside.

Ralph Williams
Ralph Williams

Yes they are..I have a friend,who lives in Denver,stopped by a Kansas state patrolman,who said "Ok,give me your marijuana right now,and I will only give you a ticket..if I have to call the dogs out here,and we find it..you're going to jail" The problem was,my friend,didn't have any marijuana,he just had long hair..the cop told him "you fit our profile" my friend said,next time he travels to Missouri,he's flying.

Ryan Romero
Ryan Romero

In October we took a quick road trip to Washington DC and got pulled over 3 times in 4 days...

Ben Deco
Ben Deco

That's a bummer, but for me personally, I wasn't going that way before and I'm sure as hell not going now.

John Marquand
John Marquand

I've been profiled 4 times in Ks & once in Mo.--very frustrating--maybe we should stop all cars with Kansas plates because they're probably mobile meth labs...

Nick Angerman
Nick Angerman

Fuckin dumb post cops profile... that's what they do

Jennifer Charon
Jennifer Charon

I was pulled over driving to MI for doing 4 over the speed limit and on the way back from MI, my father was pulled over for the license plate bracket partially covered the state name. We both were given "warnings"

Matthew Matthies
Matthew Matthies

I was pulled over by Nebraska state troopers when I was driving a U-Haul from Colorado to Wisconsin. He said I "took too long to change lanes". Sure. Saw another U-Haul pulled over after he let me go.

Monkey
Monkey

"People say, 'If you don't have anything, you have nothing to worry about.' But even talking about it now feels traumatic. It felt like all powers were taken away and you have no rights for anything."

"It felt pretty militaristic," he says. "The guy was gung-ho, all amped up like an ex-military guy. The whole thing felt like we were in another country. We were just driving down the road, obeying every traffic rule, so to be stopped like that was pretty violating.

Welcome to the United Police States of America. Where police are trained to manufacture probable cause and kidnap citizens. The only difference between violent gang members in America is that citizens are forced to fund the ones with a badges. 

Michael Roque
Michael Roque

But who would want to go to any of the surrounding states?

Michael Roque
Michael Roque

There shouldn't be consequences associated with being from a state that legalized pot. Not everybody here uses marijuana.

Cognitive_Dissident
Cognitive_Dissident topcommenter

On principle, I'm not a fan of the "open container" treatment of pot which people voted for with A64, but from a practical standpoint, how hard is it to put your pot in the trunk?

Cognitive_Dissident
Cognitive_Dissident topcommenter

Just a tip for you: a state cannot break another state's laws…it doesn't even make sense (though it is possible for an agent of the state to break another state's law when visiting.) 

Nevertheless, the swine are violating the rights of individuals when they stop them solely because they have Colorado plates, even if they make a BS excuse that's not true. It's already happened to me at least once. The idea that Colorado plates are probable cause would be laughed out of court, which is why the usually don't dare admit it.

GodLovesKansas
GodLovesKansas

Colorado is a sanctuary state for illegal criminal aliens. Colorado does not enforce federal immigration laws. Your chance of being deported as a criminal alien is less than 1%. Should out of state cops pull over all Colorado drivers because of this scenario as well? What if the driver is an illegal alien? We need to be fair, right?

Cognitive_Dissident
Cognitive_Dissident topcommenter

For what it's worth, I've yet to have trouble in Kansas (not that it won't happen eventually), traveling to Missouri, but I've been routinely harassed in Missouri, and I only go for short visits to family. They make it obvious, because they don't fail to say "this isn't Colorado."

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

... you two look guilty.

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

... you look like a stoner.

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

... bet your father wasn't smart enough to FIX and remove the offending license plate obstruction, was he?

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

"took too long to change lanes" ... not even a traffic offense.

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@Monkey  


If Amendment 64 passes, what's to stop someone from buying the maximum amount of marijuana from multiple stores and then driving it out of Colorado?

The law, says lyin' Brian Vicente;

"It will remain absolutely illegal to transport marijuana out of state after the passage of Amendment 64," he says. 


"It's currently that way now -- and its passage would untie the hands of law enforcement to focus on interstate issues rather than their current focus, which is arresting over 10,000 Coloradans for personal possession every year. 


Their focus could be on interstate transfers and arresting the people responsible rather than arresting adults for possessing small amounts of marijuana."

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@Cognitive_Dissident  ... how hard would it have been for clueless stoners to have read that piece of shit A64 before they blindly voted for it?

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@Cognitive_Dissident  "Just a tip for you: a state cannot break another state's laws…it doesn't even make sense"


Colorado pays Kansas tens of millions of $$ for violating water usage laws.

jascholl02
jascholl02

@DonkeyHotay That's the best you can come up with? By the way what does guilty look like? Come on Donkey it used to be so much fun to read your comments. Have you run out of steam?

camman1968
camman1968

@DonkeyHotay What state were they in?  How do you know they were actually in violation of the law?

Cognitive_Dissident
Cognitive_Dissident topcommenter

@DonkeyHotay @Monkey  So, you're trying to pretend the drug war actually makes some sort of difference? This is a manufactured tempest in a teacup for political reasons pointed out in another article recently posted.

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@Cognitive_Dissident


So what article of the Uniform Commercial Code covers the water rights that Kansas enforces against Colorado?


Be specific.

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@camman1968 ... most states have adopted the same uniform motor vehicle code, one of the elements being that the License Plates must be clearly displayed and unobstructed, which includes those stupid dealer advertising frames and vanity frames that obstruct any element of the license plate, such as the state, the month or year registration stickers, etc.


Those dark tinted anti-photo-radar covers are illegal too.


Same is true of windshield / rear window obstructions, such as things hanging from the rear view mirror, objects on the dashboard or rear deck, etc.



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