BOISE CITY — Anyone looking to drive an ounce or two of marijuana from Colorado to Texas doesn't have to worry about Oklahoma law enforcement for very long.
From its northern border with Colorado, where marijuana is now legal for recreational use, to the southern border it shares with the Texas Panhandle, Cimarron County is only about 35 miles across.
It wouldn't take a driver with a small stash of pot too long to pass through the sparsely populated county, said Cimarron County Sheriff Bob White. Usually, those drivers aren't planning to stay in the county, he said.
“There's nothing here to attract anybody to stop,” White said.
About 53 percent of Colorado voters in November 2012 voted to repeal the state's ban on recreational marijuana. That change goes into effect Wednesday.
Cimarron County, at the western tip of the Oklahoma Panhandle, is the only part of Oklahoma that shares a border with Colorado. Although the so-called Green Wednesday marks the beginning of legal pot for anyone older than 21 in Colorado, White said his county has seen a fairly steady flow of marijuana coming across the county's northern border for several years.
Colorado began allowing dispensaries to distribute medical marijuana in 2010. Since then, officers occasionally stop a driver with marijuana — usually because the driver is speeding, he said.
“There hasn't been a great amount of them,” White said.
Michael Stetler, owner of Marisol Therapeutics in Pueblo, Colo., said he planned to begin selling recreational marijuana Wednesday. The shop, which is a roughly 3½-hour drive from Boise City, is one of the closest licensed marijuana retailers to the Oklahoma border, according to records from the Colorado Marijuana Enforcement Division.
Tuesday, Stetler said he'd taken calls from interested buyers from Kentucky, Texas and Wyoming, and as far away as Russia and Spain. The callers had questions about whether they would actually be able to buy marijuana legally, and if the shop would have enough of it in stock, he said. Despite the volume of calls, Stetler said he wasn't sure what kind of turnout to expect Wednesday.
“I don't know, to tell you the truth,” he said.
Mark Woodward, a spokesman for the state Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs Control, said the legalization of marijuana in Colorado will likely lead to more of the drug coming into Oklahoma. The state saw a similar stream of shipments coming from Colorado when medical marijuana was legalized there in 2010, he said.
“We started seeing shipments of high-grade marijuana coming from Colorado into Oklahoma,” Woodward said. “The concern is that it's only going to get worse.”