People of Northwest Public Radio
Fri April 11, 2014
Does Legalized Marijuana Put Washington Drivers At Risk Out Of State?
Some drivers from Washington and Colorado say they're being targeted by police when they cross into Idaho. They claim it’s because their license plate shows they live in states that have legal marijuana. But that’s a hard thing to prove.
At least two Washington drivers say they were pulled over in Idaho on suspicion of using marijuana. In both cases pot was not found and they were let go.
Mary Fan is a law professor at the University of Washington. She says it would be really hard to prove that they were profiled because of their license plate.
"It's often the case that officers, if they wanted to pull someone over, they could find a traffic law as a basis if they just waited long enough or watched long enough," Fan said.
Fan said it’s hard to prove racial profiling because you have to show that a demographic is being disproportionately targeted. License-plate profiling would be even harder to prove under those criteria.
Still, one Colorado man is trying to do that. He’s filed a federal lawsuit against the Idaho State Police after he was pulled over last year.
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