Effective Jan. 1, people age 21 or older will be allowed to purchase and consume marijuana in Illinois for recreational purposes.
File photo, Regional News
CITY — Marijuana
legalization begins Jan. 1 in Illinois, and police departments along
the state line are expressing concern about having marijuana use so
close to home.
police departments are issuing warnings that they will show no
leniency toward anyone found with marijuana north of the border in
acknowledge a sense of uncertainty about how legal marijuana in
Illinois will affect law enforcement in the region.
am a bit concerned,” Town of Linn Police Chief James Bushey said.
“Not knowing how to gauge what kinds of increase we might see is
what I am more interested to know.”
state of Illinois passed a law earlier this year allowing consumers
aged 21 and older to buy marijuana for recreational use from licensed
sellers starting on Jan. 1.
dramatic change in state law is expected to spawn marijuana retail
outlets similar to those doing business in California, Colorado and
other states that have legalized pot.
in Wisconsin, where marijuana remains illegal, pot users can face
arrest and prosecution for either possession or for driving under the
influence of marijuana.
situation between two neighboring states poses an especially
challenging dynamic in the Lake Geneva region, with two vastly
different cultures for marijuana use co-existing side by side.
County Sheriff Kurt Picknell knows how his agency will respond.
deputies, Picknell said, will follow Wisconsin state law making it
illegal for someone to carry marijuana across the state line.
continue to enforce the laws of the state of Wisconsin,” Picknell
the Jan. 1 date approaches for marijuana to become legal in Illinois,
the Kenosha County Sheriff’s Department has issued a statement
reaffirming that Wisconsin state laws and Kenosha’s local
ordinances have not changed — and will still be enforced.
County Sheriff David Beth said his deputies will do their best to
educate civilians, especially when it comes to bringing weed from
Illinois into the Badger State.
deputies will continue their duties educating people about the laws
of controlled substances and the dangers of driving under the
influence,” Beth said. “We will still enforce Wisconsin law, even
though the substance was legally purchased in Illinois.”
purchased legally in Illinois is still illegal in Wisconsin.
the state line border community of Genoa City, every police officer
has been trained to recognize a motorist who is impaired by
substances other than alcohol.
City Police Chief Joseph Balog said he does not anticipate a surge in
new charges stemming from Illinois marijuana. But whatever happens,
Balog said, his officers will handle those drivers the same as
of our possession charges,” he said, “stem from either traffic
stops for a traffic violation or after someone calls 911 for a
domestic or a disturbance.”
said the town of Linn typically records five to 10 citations a year
for marijuana-related offenses. Much like Genoa City, Bushey said,
most such cases result from an officer making a traffic stop — and
smelling the familiar odor of marijuana smoke.
Police Chief Steve Cole could not be reached for comment, but village
trustee Susan Bernstein said she anticipates the village will face a
challenge in dealing with Illinois’ new marijuana culture.
advice for anyone planning to cross the border for legal marijuana in
Illinois is the same he offers anyone heading out for a couple of
a designated driver,” he said. “And do not bring back to our
state anything that can get you into trouble.”
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