IL Medical Marijuana Bill Concerns Police Groups - FOX 18 Quad Cities News and Weather

IL Medical Marijuana Bill Concerns Police Groups

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Medical marijuana legislation takes a step forward in Illinois, with approval of a Senate committee. Now law enforcement group are voicing concern when it comes to medical marijuana use and getting behind the wheel.

Legalizing medical marijuana has been a long-debated topic in Illinois. Now, leading Illinois law enforcement organizations are pushing for stricter motorist safeguards in the bill. Rock Island County Sheriff Jeff Boyd says that while the bill has good intentions, it's very open-ended. There's the issue of enforcement, specifically when it comes to officers detecting if a driver is under the influence of marijuana. 

Medical marijuana users automatically consent to taking a field sobriety test if a police officer suspects they are under the influence of the drug. Police groups say the test officers are trained in detects impairment from alcohol but doesn't work for marijuana. Sheriff Boyd says he is aware of one that does but it requires weeks of specialized training. He knows of only one person with the Illinois State Police that's trained in it. 
"I think that person did a 13 week training academy in Los Angeles for it. It's a very difficult test to be able to administer and then to withstand the scrutiny of the court system once it's utilized," said Sheriff Boyd. "I think that's a big question and I don't think they've given much thought to that at this point."
If medical marijuana becomes reality for Illinois, Boyd says it could present a problem for law enforcement agencies depending on how many people qualify to use it. The current bill creates a pilot program that limits the frequency and amount of marijuana patients can buy. It now moves to the full Senate, where the idea has won approval in past years.


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