North of the border, Wisconsin cops are monitoring the impact of legal recreational marijuana in Illinois

Despite dispensaries quickly popping up along Illinois’ northern border after that state legalized recreational marijuana almost a year ago, local law enforcement officials say they have not yet seen any major impacts in Wisconsin.

Officials with the Rock County Sheriff’s Office and police departments in Janesville and Beloit said they have not seen any rise in marijuana possession charges this year — though they caution the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic may cloud the data as it has drastically affected businesses and travel.

“It’s such an anomaly year that I don’t know if we can draw any conclusions as to the impact at this point, but we’ll keep an eye on it,” said Sgt. Mark Ratzlaff, who is in charge of Janesville Police Department’s Street Crimes Unit.

Recreational marijuana was officially legalized in Illinois on Jan. 1, 2020, with dispensaries opening up soon after in Chicago, Rockford and South Beloit, the Wisconsin State Journal reported.

A 2017 National Bureau of Economic Research report on the spillover effects of recreational marijuana legalization in Colorado and Washington on neighboring states found “a sharp increase in marijuana possession arrests in border counties” relative to non-border counties. [Read more at The Chicago Tribune]

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