Illinois Sheriffs' Association voices concerns over the idea of legalizing recreational marijuana

The Illinois Sheriffs' Association is voicing concerns over legalizing recreational marijuana. Crawford County Sheriff William Rutan said there are a lot of things that go into passing the bill.

Posted: May 20, 2019 6:38 PM
Updated: May 21, 2019 8:19 AM

CRAWFORD COUNTY, Ill. (WTHI)- The idea of legalizing recreational marijuana is drawing a lot of debate in Illinois.

While many are on board, some don't think it would be a good idea.

That includes the Illinois Sheriffs' Association.

Crawford County Sheriff William Rutan is among many law enforcement officers who do not want to see recreational marijuana legalized.

He said there are simply too many unanswered questions right now.

"Does the law need to take effect on how much a person is allowed to have? What kind of container is it shipped in? You know, and transportation. There's a lot involved," said Rutan.

One of his biggest questions he has is, how can police test drivers who appear to be under the influence?

"A breathalyzer test can easily detect alcohol. The cannabis at this point, you know the most reliable test is urinalysis, and it takes time for that to come back," said Rutan

Either way, Rutan said right now deputies are trying to be proactive, so they're ready if the bill passes.

"We're sending our guys to a little more specialized training, so they can better recognize the signs of somebody under the influence, and the signs of THC overdose."

Rutan believes this will create the need for more patrols, which makes him wonder where that money will come from.

"We're hoping that they provide more funding to local law enforcement, and also to the state law enforcement for extra people to handle the issues that do happen," said Rutan.

Right now, there are 10 states, including neighboring Michigan, that have legalized recreational marijuana.

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