By Lillian Bowe
Arkie Kiehne’s grassroots effort to oppose the legalization of marijuana for recreational purposes gained the support Tuesday of the Roosevelt County Commission.
Commissioners unanimously passed a resolution stating they would oppose any attempt by state lawmakers at legalization.
Roosevelt County Attorney Rick Queener said the resolution is a statement of Roosevelt County’s opposition and has no legal power.
Kiehne, who works with the World Series of Team Roping, presented a petition with 830 signatures to the commission at a July 15 meeting.
Kiehne said marijuana is a dangerous drug.
At the July 15 meeting, Commissioner chair Kendell Buzard asked Roosevelt County Sheriff’s Office Chief Deputy Malin Parker to provide more information on the impact of marijuana being legalized in Colorado, specifically dealing with traffic accidents.
Roosevelt County Sheriff Darren Hooker said Tuesday he presented the 98-page information packet to the commission which has statistics on traffic accidents and marijuana-related health emergencies in Colorado prelegalization and post-legalization of marijuana.
“Almost every category there was a rise from pre- to post-legalization,” Hooker said.
The commissioners said it was informative, but Buzard wanted more statistics on whether Colorado has had to increase their budget or manpower in the different law enforcement agencies.
Parker said at the last meeting his concerns with the legalization of marijuana would be the impact on Mexican drug cartels, which he believes could push them to sell more dangerous drugs, such as heroin or meth, instead of marijuana.
The commissioners agreed that the legalization of marijuana was a negative, but Buzard said he also believes people should have a right to vote on the matter.