Pot profiling: Videos show Coloradans pulled over for extremely minor infractions

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A screen capture from one of three videos on view below.
For a year-plus, we've shared claims of pot profiling from drivers who say they were pulled over on bogus pretenses in other states simply because their vehicle had Colorado license plates. For instance, a 65-year-old was told she fit the profile of a drug smuggler because she didn't fit the profile of a drug smuggler and a man was pulled over due to a rental car records snafu that didn't really exist.

Out-of-state agencies tend to deny that they profile despite evidence suggesting they do -- and a new report offers possible reasons why such efforts happen. Videos below show three Colorado drivers getting pulled over in Idaho for the most minor of infractions, but in each case, troopers found weed.

In the piece (read it in its entirety by clicking here), Complete Colorado's Todd Shepherd accurately notes that the images offer arguments for and against profiling. But they also document drivers being stopped for reasons that would almost certainly be ignored in every other circumstance.

In the first video, a trooper tells a man with a car bearing Colorado license plates that he had failed to signal a lane change for five seconds, the amount of time required prior to such a maneuver on Idaho interstates. Shepherd points out that the signal can be seen flashing four times -- meaning that if the signaling time did indeed fall short, it likely did so by a second or less.

The full video of the stop is shared below.

The five-second signaling rule was also the rationale for another stop -- one documented in the following video, which features more than an hour's worth of footage.

And finally, the Colorado driver seen in a third video was stopped for allegedly driving at a speed of 69 miles per hour in a 65 zone -- a margin of error so small that most law enforcers wouldn't bother enforcing it.

This isn't the first time we've heard about possible marijuana profiling in Idaho. Earlier this year, as we've reported, Pagosa Springs retiree Darien Roseen, seventy, filed a lawsuit against the Idaho State Patrol for allegedly profiling him. The suit states that Roseen was returning home from attending his daughter's baby shower in Washington state when he was followed into an Idaho rest stop by a state trooper.

Roseen's vehicle was subjected to multiple searches, including one conducted after another officer drove it to a nearby sheriff's station, the suit says. In the end, though, the law enforcers found nothing. So, after allegedly declining to let Roseen contact an attorney, he was let go -- but not before he was cited for careless driving.

In contrast, the drivers in the videos obtained by Complete Colorado weren't ticketed for moving-vehicle infractions -- just marijuana-related offenses. But the number of times troopers find pot on Coloradans may well motivate them to continue with the practice.

Here's the full video of the first arrest cited above.

Send your story tips to the author, Michael Roberts.

More from our Marijuana archive circa May 21: "Weed profiling: Nebraska county cites Colorado drivers for pot, etc., more than Nebraska ones."


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282 comments
Stephen Dilandee
Stephen Dilandee

"It's not profiling if you are breaking the law.?" WTF? How do you have 2 likes? If someone can't see what you're doing, and they pull you over, it's because you were profiled.

RD Jones
RD Jones

Profiling can become discrimination if it can be proven that a cetain law enforcement agency has made contact with significantly more CO drivers than in-state or other out of state drivers. Some day, some jurisdiction is going to fuck with the right person that has right amount of time and money (or accesss to a courageous constitutional attorney) to put that to the test

RD Jones
RD Jones

We've already determined that it's not wise to carry pot outside of CO because it becomes an interstate matter, which makes you subject to federal laws, etc. Having said that, let's address the law enforcement encounters. First and foremost, yes, the cops can stop you for 1 mph over, or improper lane change, or any other bullshit traffic violation, and if they choose, cite you for it. However, that does not mean you are actually guilty of it until you admit to it or lose your case via trial in court. That's due process, so everyone bag all this don't-break-the-law noise; at this point, it's still subjective. Second, you do not have to consent to a search. They can't search your vehicle unless you allow them to do so, or they obtain a warrant from a judge (where you will be detained pending its arrival), or they arrest you and charge you with a crime. Refusing a search may cost you time, but at least you put the cops on notice that you know your rights. Third, you do not have to answer any questions about drug possession or use. That's not why you were stopped, and you do not have to answer any questions not related to why you were stopped. They cannot bust you because they THINK you have/use pot; they have to KNOW it, so do not admit to it. Finally, be nice to the cops. Respectfully refuse to allow a vehicle search or to answer any questions unrelated to the traffic stop, and confirm that you are fee to go on your way. Be prepared to get hassled, but there's no need to get militant. Know your rights (whether or not you use pot), be nice to everyone, and happy motoring in America.

Nick Pollard
Nick Pollard

Jeff, Read the question asked again. If you violate traffic law, you will be pulled over. Very likely nothing will happen if you do not have pot. Minor inconvenience yes, but that is the price we pay for legalizing a controlled substance. Side bar. Do you smoke pot?

Che Weller
Che Weller

Nick Pollard remember that statement when you and your family have nothing illegal yet you get pulled and strip searched.

Che Weller
Che Weller

For the last time...'profiling os not illegal." Its inconvenient and wrong. But noy illegal

Jeff Fa Fa Martinez
Jeff Fa Fa Martinez

Block of marble?? Really, I don't think you get it Nick. This is actually for the people who have nothing to do with pot and get profiled because they are from Colorado.

Shea Estes
Shea Estes

It's so sad how many of you are OK with profiling. I wouldn't bring weed across state lines, but would still be super pissed if I got pulled over for something like this. "If you're not breaking the law it's not a problem". Doing 66mph in a 65mph zone is not breaking the law! Using a made up reason to pull someone over because they have CO plates, is!

Maggie Thompson
Maggie Thompson

Know your rights, don't consent to a search of your car!

Adam Shanabrook
Adam Shanabrook

If you're stupid enough to take pot into another state knowing it's illegal there, then you deserve to get pulled over and/or arrested.

Chant Mcclure
Chant Mcclure

I was pulled over in Texas for the same thing. Cops hate green plates

Nick Pollard
Nick Pollard

It's not profiling if you are breaking the law.

A Chris Heismann
A Chris Heismann

This is not a new thing. Lots of cops in various jurisdictions like to pull over cars with out of state plates for the littlest of violations. It's virtually certain that ticketing an out of state driver will mean revenue for the jurisdiction without the officer having to worry about appearing in court. Rural and border jurisdictions are the worst. Try driving a car with CA plates in a town like Craig and Lamar - you'll attract attention from law enforcement.

John Elliott
John Elliott

If you voted "yes" on Amendment 64 and then are in any way surprised by this happening, you are an idiot.

Krissy Twitchell
Krissy Twitchell

I got pulled over in Idaho for doing 1 over the speed limit. Literally!!! Asked where we were going (Colorado... Duh, Colorado plates), asked where we came from (Washington). Then literally started grilling us about Marijuana. "You know marijuana is legal in Washington, right?" Yes "you didn't bring any with you did you?" Ummm no, if I wanted it, I could get it in Colorado "you aren't smoking now are you?" No I've never smoked in my life... Etc. It was ridiculous!!!!

Sam Lang
Sam Lang

profiling is also illegal.... laws are there to protect you fro the police too

chronodiver
chronodiver

I don't like the idea of profiling by Colorado State plates. However, every one of these people were guilty of stupidity for having drugs in a state where it is illegal. Paying the stupidity tax is on their heads for not being smart enough to leave things at home.

Nick Pollard
Nick Pollard

How many times are you planning on asking this question? Yes. It is a violation of the law. DONT TAKE YOUR POT ACROSS STATE LINES... it's like communicating with a block of marble with you people.

Johnny Martinez
Johnny Martinez

I live in Colorado and I would never take my pot out of state. Unless Legalized and no problems would be come of it. Police will profile anyway. You got tattoos = you a gang member. You drink = your an alcoholic You smoke cigarettes = your a dirty person. You smoke pot = your a felon. In states that apply all 50.

Rick Moe
Rick Moe

This is so new give it time it will slow down.

Jennifer Leigh Feuerstein
Jennifer Leigh Feuerstein

I have been saying this for years now! When I leave the state I ALWAYS get pulled over for some dumb stuff.

Rich Carollo
Rich Carollo

You'll still get harassed as heavily. Maybe you enjoy getting pulled over for bullshit reasons just to see if you have a joint on you, I sure don't.

Rick Moe
Rick Moe

Everybody keeps talking about hippies there are no hippies anymore, there are people who think there hippies but really don't know what one is! Long hair and smoking weed don't make you a hippie.

Julian Aguirre
Julian Aguirre

idk. I've been pulled over for stuff like this in colorado. especially in lone tree. And they usually search the vehicle. Maybe it's profiling happening here too?

Mike Skeel
Mike Skeel

holy shit...my buddy Brian was pulled over for this EXACT THING, in idaho also i believe...such bullshit

Rick Moe
Rick Moe

Don't take pot out of the state and you have nothing to worry about.

Chris Wentzloff
Chris Wentzloff

I completely understand officer discretion but i think this is bullshit and in my humble opinion, this officer barely (if at all ) meets the required probable cause to initiate the stop in the first place.

Lane Trujillo
Lane Trujillo

It's simple people, avoid these states that clearly do not want your money.

RobertChase
RobertChase topcommenter

Stop these fascist pigs cold!

Joy Opie
Joy Opie

My Home state now I live I live in Arizona

muhutdafuga
muhutdafuga topcommenter

@mcarthurdw It would be much worse if another authoritarian republican were somehow able to cheat enough to be elected president again.

muhutdafuga
muhutdafuga topcommenter

The worst is America's rectum, Hulbert, Oklahoma.

muhutdafuga
muhutdafuga topcommenter

Which is why we can't allow another republican to become president and further pack the supreme court with freedom hating judges like the fascist 5!!! The conservative judges are ruling against American freedom.

muhutdafuga
muhutdafuga topcommenter

@chronodiver Wrong.  Being harassed and profiled doesn't automatically mean someone is carrying pot.

ValenciaBelize
ValenciaBelize

you *are* a dirty person if you smoke cigarettes  

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

... the Desert Racist Wasteland

chronodiver
chronodiver

@muhutdafuga @chronodiver Of course it doesn't. However, every one of these three examples were carrying pot across state lines. I'm not sure what you're saying I'm wrong about. They broke the law and are having to face the penalties. Everyone leaving Colorado should be smart enough to have a car that has zero drugs. Let's see the uproar when they continually pull over the innocent and not the guilty. The guilty make us all look bad and will keep giving the police in other states an incentive to pull over anyone with Colorado plates.

muhutdafuga
muhutdafuga topcommenter

@chronodiver I'm saying that there are MANY people being harassed by illegal police profiling that have never used pot. 

chronodiver
chronodiver

@muhutdafuga @chronodiver  I'm not disagreeing with that. I just want people to be smarter when they leave the state so that everyone they pull over is innocent. If everyone is innocent, the profiling becomes extremely obvious and will cause a much greater uproar. Then again, I'm a middle-aged white female. I haven't really experienced profiling but it bothers me when it happens to others. I realize that it's not fair. 

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