In less than a month, Illinois will become the 11th state to begin legally selling recreational marijuana.
Although the sale and recreational use will now be legal within Illinois borders, the arrival of these new legislations poses new threats to law enforcement in the surrounding areas.
Come January 1st, law enforcement across the Tri-State will be challenged with upholding their own state laws as more marijuana is expected to cross state borders.
44News spoke with two Indiana sheriffs who say their main focus will remain on large scale drug trafficking.
Vanderburgh County Sheriff Dave Wedding says, “I think you will see more marijuana in Evansville and Vanderburgh County once it is legal in the state of Illinois. The sheriff’s office has a joint drug task force with the Evansville police department and we also have members of our office working with the Drug Enforcement Administration. This will probably just bump up the illegal drug trade in our community.”
Tom Latham, Sheriff of the Posey County Sheriffs Office, says, “I’ve spoken to the prosecutor personally, and he is obviously on the same wavelength as we are. Until that law is changed, then we still have an obligation to uphold those laws. Marijuana is illegal in the state of Indiana and a person may be placed in custody and taken to the appropriate jail.”
Under the new Illinois law, residents in Illinois can purchase 30 grams of marijuana for recreational use. Anyone else from out of state can buy half of that amount legally.
If you are caught in Indiana with 30 grams of marijuana or less, it is counted as a misdemeanor. Possession of any quantity of marijuana over that amount will be considered a felony offense.
Hoosier law enforcement officers say they plan to enforce the law until Indiana legislation is changed.