Pot Profiling: Driver Told He Was Pulled Over For Safety of Goats Walking Along Highway
In May, we shared a Complete Colorado report featuring video evidence that Colorado drivers in Idaho were being pulled over for extremely minor infractions -- at which point law enforcers would search their vehicles for marijuana.
A highway stop in Idaho. More images and a video below.
Now, in a followup, Complete Colorado shares a new clip suggesting that vehicles with Washington license plates are also being pot-profiled as a pretext for weed rousts. Moreover, the state trooper in question says he pulled the driver over because his driving might have endangered a goat had it been walking along the highway -- even though no goats were present. Details, images and the aforementioned video below.
As you know, Washington is the only other state aside from Colorado that has legalized limited marijuana sales for recreational purposes. Colorado allowed such businesses to begin operating on January 1, and while Washington didn't follow suit until July, the impending law change was already generating worldwide headlines in April, when the incident in question took place.
A screen capture of the vehicle shortly before the stop.
One rationale given for highway stops of cars with Colorado plates in our May post was failing to signal for five seconds prior to changing lanes -- a little-known Idaho rule. This time around, Washington's Mike Rowley tells Complete Colorado his supposed offense was crossing the "fog line" -- the stripe on the right side of the highway that separates the slow lane from the apron.
Rowley insists that he didn't cross this line and the video doesn't prove it one way or the other. Nonetheless, the trooper tells Rowley that drifting over the fog line could have caused him to hit someone walking a goat on the side of the highway.
The audio of this exchange can be heard at about the 2:48 minute mark of the YouTube clip (11:38:54 on the video time stamp in the upper left-hand corner of the screen).
At that point, it seems possible Rowley will get off with a warning. But then, the trooper tells him that as part of his work with a drug interdiction task force, he's been asked to quiz everyone he pulls over about what Idaho considers to be illicit substances, including marijuana. Rather than risking jail if the trooper's drug-sniffing dog had caught a certain scent, Rowley then reveals that he has two marijuana pipes in the vehicle with him.
That Idaho authorities would be keeping an eye on Washington license plates in the same way some claim they're flagging ones from Colorado makes sense. After all, the former two states border each other. Now that recreational sales are underway in both places, residents traveling beyond state lines would be well advised to strictly obey traffic laws -- but even that may not be enough to prevent them from piquing the interest of those patrolling highways in places like Idaho.
Here's the aforementioned video -- and to check out the original Complete Colorado report, click here.
Send your story tips to the author, Michael Roberts.