New York law enforcement concerned about legal pot in Vermont

February 05, 2018 06:17 PM

CAMBRIDGE - There's only an imaginary line separating New York from Vermont and sometimes the neighboring states have very different laws.

Starting July 1, it will be legal to possess and smoke pot in Vermont. It will still be illegal in New York.

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"No matter if it's two leaves or an ounce of marijuana coming across, it's still illegal," said Cambridge-Greenwich Police Chief George Bell.

NewsChannel 13 rode along the New York-Vermont border Monday with Bell.

In law enforcement for four decades, Bell doesn't get rattled by too much, but he thinks legalized pot in Vermont is going to be trouble for his department and others near a border with the Green Mountain State.

"It's just going to be a huge hassle for law enforcement on the New York side."

Bell said his officers often make arrests of Vermonters for unlawful possession of marijuana in New York, but beginning July 1, Bell expects there will be a lot of people who bring it across the state line.

He says he expects Vermonters who are pulled over with pot to give his officers a hard time and argue that they didn't know it's not legal here.

The chief also expects New Yorkers to cross the border to buy weed and bring it back home.

"Absolutely. Sure they will. Because it's legal. They're going to go over there, buy what they can get by with, come back over here," said Bell. "Whether they're living on the border or ten miles deep into New York State, it still becomes illegal here in New York State and they need to understand that."

The Washington County and Warren County Sheriff's Offices say they also expect to see more people coming from Vermont with pot and say time will tell if it will become a significant problem.


Mark Mulholland

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