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Does Legalized Marijuana Put Washington Drivers At Risk Out Of State?

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Some drivers from Washington and Colorado say they're being targeted by police when they cross into Idaho.

They claim it’s because their license plate shows they live two states that have legal marijuana, but that’s a hard thing to prove.

At least two Washington drivers say they were pulled over in Idaho on suspicion of using marijuana. In both cases, pot was not found and they were let go.

Mary Fan, a law professor at the University of Washington, says it would be really hard to prove that they were profiled because of their license plate.

"It's often the case that officers if they wanted to pull someone over, they could find a traffic law as a basis if they just waited long enough or watched long enough,” Fan said.

Fan says it’s hard to prove racial profiling because you have to show that a demographic is being disproportionately targeted. License plate profiling would be even harder to prove under that criteria.

Still, one Colorado man is trying to do that. He’s filed a federal lawsuit against the Idaho State Police after he was pulled over last year.

Chris Lehman graduated from Temple University with a journalism degree in 1997. He landed his first job less than a month later, producing arts stories for Red River Public Radio in Shreveport, Louisiana. Three years later he headed north to DeKalb, Illinois, where he worked as a reporter and announcer for NPR–affiliate WNIJ–FM. In 2006 he headed west to become the Salem Correspondent for the Northwest News Network.