PUEBLO, Colo. - Pueblo County Sheriff Kirk Taylor believes legal marijuana is helping harder drugs like heroin make a comeback. He says contrary to prior reports, it has nothing to do with the "gateway drug" theory.
"I'm not saying that if you smoke marijuana tomorrow you're going to go do heroin," Sheriff Taylor said. "The link I am talking about between the legalization of marijuana and these other illicit drugs is a financial link."
The Sheriff believes black market marijuana is making its way into some dispensaries and being sold through drug dealers to fund other illicit drug activity.
"Any illegal marijuana that comes in can be absorbed by the dispensaries, unbeknownst to us, under the guise of legalization and be sold to the public," Taylor said. "I'm by no means accusing any of our dispensary owners of any illicit wrong doing."
But Taylor questions the effectiveness of the system implemented by the state to track legal recreational marijuana from seed to sale.
"Allegedly we can track the sales that go out the front door, we cannot track the sales that go out the back door," Taylor said.
He points to 56-year-old Thomas Randal Salsman, a Colorado Springs man, who was arrested last month for allegedly trying to sell home grown pot to a Pueblo County dispensary. The dispensary tipped off law enforcement which led to the arrest.
Asked if he had any evidence to show the links between legalization and financing harder drugs, Taylor said he didn't have any direct evidence.
"If I did, I'd be arresting them," Taylor said.