Court Rules In Favor Of The Motorist Pulled Over In Kansas With CO Tags

In December of 2011, a gentleman by the name of Peter Vasquez was pulled over on a Kansas highway while traveling alone at night, away from his home state of Colorado. He was pulled over and his car was searched based on the justification that he was traveling from a state that was known for being a “drug source” simply because marijuana is legal in Colorado. The search yielded absolutely no illegal substances and he was let go. The situation did not end there, though. Just recently the 10th US Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver ruled that the two Highway Patrol officers from Kansas that pulled Peter over, had indeed violated his constitutional rights. This ruling changes the law and it now states that officers are no longer able to pull over motorists in the state of Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma, Wyoming, New Mexico and Utah on the basis of their license plate originating from a legal cannabis state.
This violation of Peter’s constitutional rights is obvious and it is great to see that the court agreed. The situation that occurred with Peter luckily brought into light how police feel they can utilize their badge to do as they wish. When police officers go through training and are hired to a squad, they take an oath to protect and serve the members of their community. Pulling over a motorist on a highway such as Peter Vasquez simply because his license plates were from a state that allows its residents to have legal access to a safe natural medication and safer recreational choice than alcohol, is not protecting and serving. It is in the basic form nothing other than harassment.
The case of Peter Vasquez is not just an isolated incident either. There have been numerous reports of motorists from CO being detained and their cars being searched based only on the premises that they had CO license plates. Take for example 70-year-old Darien Roseen. Darien owns a home in CO and in Washington State. While traveling through Idaho going between his homes, Darien started being tailed by Idaho State Trooper Justin Klitch. Mr. Roseen started to feel uncomfortable as the Trooper continued following him, so he decided to pull into a rest area. This is when Trooper Klitch detained Darien.
His reasoning was that Roseen had failed to use a signal and had tapped the curb when pulling into the parking spot at the rest area. The real reason though was quickly apparent after the officer immediately accused him of “having something in his vehicle that he should not have,” simply because he had CO plates and was a licensed medical marijuana card holder. This is when Roseen consented to a search and was detained in the back of a cruiser and taken to the local sheriff’s dept while another officer drove his car to the station and the car was searched entirely. The search of course returned absolutely no marijuana and he was later let go without another mention of the traffic infractions he had originally been detained for.
Hopefully as time progresses this type of harassment will naturally go away as more states choose to follow in the footsteps of Colorado and legalize responsible adult use of cannabis.
image: wikimedia

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