We’re not going to turn a blind eye to it — Anthony, Texas, Police Chief Carlos Enriquez
Anthony, Texas, is at a unique location.
It borders a New Mexico community with the same name. But, its close proximity to the Land of Enchantment could become problematic for the Texas town of just over 5,300 people.
On Friday, a New Mexico law allowing adults over 21 to buy up to 2 ounces of marijuana at retail outlets took effect. It was passed by the state legislature and signed by the governor in 2021.
Marijuana, however, is not legal in the Lone Star State.
It is going to put a strain on the department because officers will have to not only enforce the law, but will have to educate people about it, Anthony (TX) Police Chief Carlos Enriquez said, adding that people will need to be aware of where the state line is.
Because if they are pulled over and are caught with it, they will be arrested, he added.
“They will have the headaches, legal fees, etcetera,” Enriquez said.
‘We’ll still take the same action’
About 260 miles northeast of Anthony is Andrews, Texas.
The community may only be about a half-hour drive from Eunice, New Mexico, but Andrews County Sheriff’s Office Chief Deputy Cheryl Martin said she does not think the new law will have a big impact.
Regardless, Martin said: “We’ll still take the same action as always” if someone were to get caught with marijuana.
The same can be said about the Dallam County Sheriff’s Office. The Dallam County seat of Dalhart sits in the northern portion of the Texas Panhandle, about 280 miles north of Andrews.
If people are seen with marijuana, they are going to be treated the same way whether they purchased it legally in New Mexico or not, Dallam County Sheriff Shane Stevenson said.
He said he was not surprised that New Mexico legalized the drug for recreational use because more states have recently taken the same step.
The Texas Department of Public Safety issued a statement to the Observer Wednesday saying there are “no specific enforcement initiatives” currently planned to address New Mexico’s new law.
“The Texas Department of Public Safety is committed to enforcing the state laws of Texas and will continue to do so in order to protect the people and property of this state,” DPS stated, adding that Texas Highway Patrol troopers will continue to be out on the roads just as they have been.
‘We’re not going to turn a blind eye’
Even if people purchase and consume the drug legally, Enriquez said it could lead to a spike of impaired drivers.
This will cause an increase of DUIs in Texas, which could create “another can of worms,” he said, adding that it is not only expensive to incarcerate people but the police department would have to hire a company to destroy the marijuana.
“We’re all for whatever they choose to do just as long as they do it within the scope of the law,” Enriquez said. “At the same time, it will put a strain on our agency. (But) we’re not going to turn a blind eye to it.”