As Illinois marijuana sales enter first weekend, state line law enforcement prepares


BELOIT, Wis. – Law enforcement agencies in Rock County are preparing for the continued sale of marijuana across the state line in Illinois.

On Wednesday, Illinois began selling the drug for recreational use. In Rockford, a Madison native was the first to buy it.

“I don’t think that’s that big of a surprise at all,” said Rock County Sheriff Troy Knudson. “I think that’s what we anticipated, that Wisconsin residents would be going down there. That is of course the concern we’ve talked about for quite some time.”

Knudson said while deputies have made two marijuana related stops since sales began, it’s not clear whether they were related to pot purchased across state lines. He said making that distinction could end up being a challenge.

“If we find a small quantity of marijuana, we want to look for receipts or ask them where it came from,” he said. “Hopefully that will give us some idea if it’s the local problem that’s existed for many years, or if it’s because of the change across the border.”

Knudson says drivers caught driving high face OWI charges, which could lead to a fine and create problems with insurance.  A handful of deputies have been trained to spot the high driving tendencies.

Still, he says it is too early to determine the long term impacts the changes will have.

“I don’t think we can draw any trend data from a couple of days,” he said. Right now, our activity level is what is has been for quite some time.”