BELOIT, Wis. (WMTV) — Known as the “Gateway to Wisconsin,” the City of Beloit may soon see much more of a so-called “gateway drug.”
“After they drive into our state after consuming those edibles, or smoking it or whatever, they could find themselves extremely disoriented in a second’s notice and be involved in a very serious accident,” says Chief David Zibolski, City of Beloit Police Department.
Starting next Wednesday, Illinois will become the second Wisconsin border state to legalize recreational marijuana. Beloit Police Chief David Zibolski says more problems may be coming with that legalization.
“There’s really no financial benefit, which I think is one of the things Illinois espoused, but obviously they didn’t check the data because it’s out there,” he tells NBC15 News.
Chief Zibolski refers to data collected by the Rocky Mountain High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area, a federally funded task force. He says the data shows the legalization of marijuana will not create more revenue for the state, but instead could create more opportunity for people selling the drug on the black market.
“This really adds to their ability to do that. It makes it almost more beneficial for them,” he says. “The more drugs that they can obtain, especially when they can go to a state where it’s legal, and then they can export it out and add other drug mixtures or other drugs, they’re increasing their profit margin.”
In a one-on-one interview just last week, Governor Tony Evers told NBC15 News that marijuana legalization in the Badger State could soon be on its way.
“We talk about medical marijuana, is that the most important issue in the state probably not, I think there are others that are higher profile, but there seems to be some bipartisan support,” Governor Evers told NBC15’s Caroline Peterson.
Back in Beloit, Chief Zibolski says beyond mentally preparing for the law change, there is not much his department can do.
“We’ve trained some additional drug recognition experts, but aside from that, it’s really kind of business as usual, although we expect to see more business,” he says.
Chief Zibolski made it very clear: even if you purchase marijuana legally in Illinois, taking the drug across the border into Wisconsin could mean both a state and federal violation.
Right now, there are 33 states that have legalized marijuana for medicinal purposes.11 have it legalized for recreational use, including Michigan and Illinois.