Pubdate: Sun, 11 Aug 2013
Source: Journal Times, The (Racine, WI)
Copyright: 2013 The Journal Times
Author: Lindsay Fiori


RACINE COUNTY - A new Illinois law allowing medical marijuana in that
state could mean an influx of pot into Racine County's nearby black

"We already see a lot of marijuana entering the local black market
from medicinal states," said Sgt. Scott Krogh of the Racine County
Metro Drug Unit.

He explained that states with approved medical marijuana often grow
more than they're allowed. The surplus ends up in states, like
Wisconsin, where medical marijuana is not legally available.

"We see it from California, Washington, Colorado, Michigan," Krogh
said. "Now Illinois is right there and they wouldn't have to ship it
as far, so there might be an impact for more of it entering our black
market here."

Racine Police Department drug unit staff foresee a similar

"The issue we see (now) is packages coming in from the legalized
states to our location," said Sgt. Jeff BeBow of the department's
special investigations drug unit.

The amount of marijuana coming in has increased as more states have
legalized the drug, BeBow said, adding he expects another increase now
that Illinois has joined the bandwagon.

More marijuana in the local black market is bad "for many reasons,"
Krogh said, mentioning the health risks, like cancer, that are
associated with smoking the drug.

More pot also means that, according to the rules of supply and demand,
the price will go down and it will become more accessible to everyone,
"kids in particular," Krogh said.

"It's a gateway drug, especially for kids," he said. "They usually
don't start on heroin."

Illinois on Aug. 1 became the 20th state in the nation to allow the
medical use of marijuana. The law allowing it takes effect Jan. 1 and
sets up a four-year pilot program for state-regulated dispensaries and
22 cultivation centers, where the plants will be grown.

Under Illinois law, only patients with serious illnesses, such as
cancer, muscular dystrophy and lupus, will be allowed to obtain
medical marijuana. Patients must have established relationships with a
doctor and will be limited to 2.5 ounces every two weeks.

Krogh doesn't think it's very likely that Wisconsin residents will
head south to try to get marijuana prescriptions, he said, because the
local black market already makes it so easy: "(The black market) might
be cheaper than going through a doctor, getting a prescription and
going through the dispensaries."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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