Beloit police fear more impaired drivers once marijuana legal in Illinois

Published: Aug. 22, 2019 at 9:54 PM CDT
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Illinois will join the likes of 10 other states that legally allow recreational use of marijuana. As the marijuana laws relax in 2020, law enforcement officials are anything but relaxed about the possible dangers.

"From what we have learned from data out of Colorado and Washington, it [marijuana] has a signnificant impact on impaired driving and fatal accidents when drivers have marijuana in their system," Beloit Police Chief David Zibolski said.

Zibolski has a handful of officers that have gone through special training with the State Highway Department to become drug recognition experts. He says it's one of the measures they are taking to prepare for Illinois to legalizing marijuana.

"The training affords them some additional skills to detect someone who is impaired by a controlled substance versus alcohol," Zibolski said.

Last election, there was an advisory referendum question on the ballots in 16 Wisconsin counties. Most voters were in favor of legalizing marijuana in the dairy state. Zibolski hopes it doesn't happen though.

He says the risk to children digesting the drug, impaired drivers, and an increase in crime are all drawbacks to legalization of marijuana. Others in favor of the drug argue it helps treat epilepsy, anxiety and ADD and OCD.