Nacogdoches Co. Sheriff: Legalized weed producers may expand market to Texas

NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - Legalized marijuana usage in states is predicted to someday be more the rule than the exception.

Until then, the impact on drug enforcement may be significant here in Texas.

Colorado residents are now legally smoking weed for pleasure. Producers are now growing the green leaf drug for legal income.

Sheriff Jason Bridges predicts it won't be too long before Rocky Mountain high marijuana growers will be looking to expand their market.

"They're going to start growing volumes of this stuff and eventually they're going to start selling masses of it, and that's going to infiltrate, end up into our state eventually," said Nacogdoches County Sheriff Jason Bridges.

Bridges based his opinion on what he's already seen from a state where a version of legalized marijuana usage has been in effect for some time.

"In fact, we've worked a case right here in Nacogdoches locally," Bridges said. "We've had information before that we've had dope coming in from California, being flown in."

There are Texans wanting to follow Colorado's example by relaxing state marijuana laws. East Texas News caught up with State Representative Travis Clardy (R-Nacogdoches) by phone. He was in the campaign trial in Cherokee County.

"What Colorado wants to do is Colorado's business, but I don't think Texas is going to follow suit," Clardy said.

However, the penalties for marijuana use may be relaxed.

"There is certainly a school of thought that looks at the cost of the criminal justice system for incarceration and what that costs our society versus the benefit of having these laws," Clardy said.

Studies show the legal use of marijuana is feeding state coffers, benefiting the ill, and pleasing voters who grew up smoking pot.

Still, marijuana legalization is impacting states where its use is still against the law.

"It hurts us is what it does," Bridges said. "It doesn't help. It's just putting more marijuana out on the streets."

Polls from various sources do show there's a growing support for the legalization of marijuana here in Texas, but the numbers still remain far behind those who oppose its legal use.

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