I have a bone to pick with the state of Wyoming.
In a recent report in Wyoming News, the Laramie County Sheriff had a few complaints about all the marijuana crossing the state line from Colorado into Wyoming.
“Laws are laws,” Laramie County Sheriff Danny Glick said. “
If you knowingly go down (to Colorado) and bring marijuana back to this state in violation of our laws, you will be cited and/or arrested.”
Glick said he has been working with other law enforcement agencies in Wyoming to “create a task force to target marijuana coming back into this county (from Colorado).”
Glick added, “The sheriffs of Wyoming have gotten together and taken a stance against marijuana.” “Being impaired by marijuana is just like being impaired by alcohol,” he said.
Glick said the department has “worked hard … to make an impact on DUIs. Now all of a sudden because of a decision made by the state to our south, we have to worry about (more people driving under the influence of marijuana.)”
Glick said he is in the process of training his deputies on ways to recognize if a driver is under the influence of marijuana. “
Usually with marijuana you have the odor, but now with the edibles that are out there, that may not be the case,” he said.
As a 55-year-old resident of Colorado, someone who was actually born and raised here, I find all this whining to be pretty ridiculous considering all the illegal fireworks that have crossed the border from Wyoming into Colorado over the years.
It seems that Wyoming has always had more permissive laws than Colorado when it comes to fireworks. Back in the late 70s when my husband and I were in high school, everyone had a “friend” who was heading north to buy the fireworks in Wyoming that weren’t allowed in Colorado. We’d pool our money, put in an order, then wait for said friend to return with a car or pickup full of all sorts of incendiary devices.
We’re not talking about sparklers and pop-bottle rockets, although they sell plenty of those too. This is the really good stuff with names like Urban Warrior, Tunguska Blast and Wolf Pack! More than enough for a commercial fireworks show or any SWAT raid.
It’s an easy drive, with fireworks stands lined up along the state line. And if you didn’t find what you liked there, all you had to do was drive a few more miles to Cheyenne or Laramie to find a plethora of stands willing to sell all sorts of explosives to Colorado residents. Law enforcement in Wyoming didn’t seem to have too much trouble looking the other way. It’s Colorado’s problem, after all.
Also, back in the 70s, the legal age to purchase alcohol differed between the two states. Colorado used to have a split drinking age: 18 for 3.2 beer, 21 for everything else. Wyoming, however, had a flat drinking age of 19. Again, it was an easy drive north to the border to grab whatever you needed for a party, or just hang out and get shit-faced, then head back home with a trunk full of booze (and all those explosives).
This isn’t just something that happened back in my day. The practice of purchasing fireworks in Wyoming to bring back to Colorado continues today, and this year was no exception. This past 4th of July weekend, blatantly illegal fireworks were exploding across the Denver-metro area in a testament to the revenue generated every year for our neighbor to the north. In 2012, Westword even published an article warning Coloradans about the dangers of fireworks from Wyoming.
It’s not like fireworks don’t pose a problem for Wyoming as well. Over the holiday weekend, an unidentified Cheyenne man was severely injured over the Fourth of July weekend after a firework exploded in his hand.
Laramie County Fire District 2 Chief Jason Caughey said emergency personnel responded to a residence late Friday/early Saturday in reference to a man in his early 20s with extensive hand and facial injuries.
“It was pretty bad. The firework went off in his hand, and it caused severe injuries to his face and hands,” Caughey said Monday.
The victim was taken to Cheyenne Regional Medical Center for treatment and then airlifted to a burn unit at an undisclosed hospital in Colorado.
Now, after blatantly allowing fireworks to cross the border for decades, Wyoming law enforcement actually has the nerve to complain about marijuana coming in from Colorado!
How much damage has Wyoming caused Colorado over years? How much forest has been lost? How many houses have burned? How many people, especially kids, have been injured? What is the cost? What threat does Wyoming’s choice to allow such fireworks, and to openly sell them to Colorado residents knowing they will cross the state line, pose to our state?
Perhaps Colorado should establish a fireworks task force and back-charge Wyoming for the cost of all the damage caused by their fireworks: property damage, hospital fees, firefighting efforts, and law enforcement. If marijuana coming in from Colorado is such a public safety issue for Wyoming, perhaps Colorado should more seriously consider the public safety issue arising from the trafficking of Wyoming fireworks that has gone on for decades.
Or perhaps Wyoming should just shut up and legalize marijuana.