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Outgoing U.S. Attorney: Legal Marijuana Not What It Was Billed As

By Rick Sallinger

DENVER (CBS4) - The outgoing U.S. Attorney for Colorado will soon be leaving his office as a new administration in Washington brings a changing of the guard. But before he goes out the door, Bob Troyer has a message of caution for the public on marijuana.

That message: it hasn't turned out to be what was billed.

He says it hasn't produced a large impact on state revenue and instead created a long list of problems.

U.S. Attorney Bob Troyer speaks with CBS4's Rick Sallinger. (Credit: CBS)

CBS4's Rick Sallinger sat down with Troyer and asked him about the predictions that legalization of pot would lead to less crime. Troyer had a quick answer.

"Absolutely not," Troyer said. "It has not led to a reduction in crime."

For example, he points to what he calls a booming black market for cannabis.

troyer (2)
(Credit: CBS)

"We have now, for the first time in the history of Colorado, become the theater of operations for international drug trafficking organizations who make their product in our state."

He cites Chinese, Cuban and Mexican groups renting or buying the houses, growing pot and selling it out of state.

"Marijuana can be produced in Colorado under cover of legalization and sold back east for three to four times its value here," Troyer said.

And that, he says, is just the start to an ever-growing expansion of the marijuana marketplace.

"We see pot clubs, foreign investment, pizza marijuana delivery," he said.

He points to businesses licensed by the state but still violating federal law.

troyer (1)
(Credit: CBS)

"If they are still causing harm to the environment or to our youth or to a community they should, in fact, fear federal prosecution," he warned.

An example, he says, are disguised marijuana smoking devices sold to kids such as fake computer plugs that can be filled with pot.

Troyer sees it as part of the "wild west" of pot, an "even more frenzied pace to exploit the gold rush while it still exists."

He also says growing marijuana on public lands has damaged the environment, the average use of pot by children in this state as way above average and he points to statistics he has that show marijuana use tied to an increase in various types of crimes.

CBS4's Rick Sallinger is a Peabody award winning reporter who has been with the station more than two decades doing hard news and investigative reporting. Follow him on Twitter @ricksallinger.

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