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Local News

Illinois State Police prepare to enforce new cannabis law

A DeKalb man smokes marijuana from a bowl Monday at his home. Earlier this month the Illinois General Assembly passed a measure legalizing the recreational use of marijuana.
A DeKalb man smokes marijuana from a bowl Monday at his home. Earlier this month the Illinois General Assembly passed a measure legalizing the recreational use of marijuana.

The Illinois State Police announced it is preparing its enforcement efforts and the implementation of expungement and regulation requirements of the Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act.

The Illinois Legislature passed the bill, which legalized and regulated recreational marijuana, earlier this year, and Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed it into law last week. Besides allowing for the use of small amounts of marijuana, its passage means almost 800,000 people with criminal records for purchasing or possessing 30 grams or less could have those records expunged.

“Whether it’s misconduct regarding alcohol or cannabis, public safety and the enforcement of the law will always remain our top priorities,” the ISP acting Director Brendan Kelly said in a news release. “As the law of the state of Illinois changes, the ISP will ensure our officers, forensic scientists, telecommunicators and support staff have the necessary training and tools needed to continue to enforce the laws in place and perform their respective duties.”

The ISP said its recruits already receive training on drug enforcement and field sobriety testing. Sworn employees will receive additional training regarding oral fluid testing and case law when this method becomes a testing mechanism utilized by the ISP, according to the release.

The agency said it is researching saliva-based testing and is gathering and reviewing feedback from other states that have already legalized recreational marijuana use. Several states have been using technology that has shown promise, ISP said.

The law includes similar penalties for drivers refusing to submit to such tests, just as in the case of drivers refusing to submit to an alcohol breathalyzer.

In addition, the ISP Bureau of Identification is evaluating the official state criminal history repository to identify minor marijuana offense records which could be expunged or further analyzed by the Prisoner Review Board. Once the records are identified, the ISP will comply with the processing of the law’s notification requirements.

The ISP’s Medical Marijuana Unit, which oversees and regulates the medical marijuana program, will assume the agency’s regulatory duties for both medical and recreational use programs. With the new law, the ISP will expand its MMU. ISP provides regulatory guidance to cultivation centers and dispensaries with monthly inspections of all 21 cultivation centers and 55 dispensaries.

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