Local law enforcement talk do’s and don’ts on cannabis

MCDONOUGH CO., Ill. (NEWS3) — Nearly two months after recreational marijuana became legal in Illinois, local officials are still learning the extent of regulations that will be in place.

Local law enforcement explained the do’s and don’ts when it comes to using the drug and how we could see changes in the coming months.

“Put it in the trunk of your car, drive it home, get it out, take it into your house right away,” McDonough Co. Sheriff Nick Petitigout said.

Adults 21 and older are allowed to purchase and possess up to one ounce (30 grams) at a time. It’s important for people to clearly understand what’s allowed and not allowed so no one runs into any trouble.

“Don’t try to be…well, I have to go run some errands,” Petitigout said. “No, just buy it and take it home.”

Petitgout said, in order to transport pot, it must be kept in the package purchased at the dispensary. He said the law also requires pot to be placed in a sealed, odor-proof, child resistant container. The sheriff said the law allows the drug to be used, but not in vehicles or in public.

“I imagine that they will do a lot of follow up with it, because there’s just some holes in this legislation,” Petitgout said.

Law enforcement and prosecutors all throughout the state are still working out a lot of gray area with the law, so they’re taking it case-by-case and urging the public to follow what is clear.

“We’re not just all of a sudden going out and saying, we’re going to prosecute these people hard core right off the bat,” McDonough County State’s Attorney Matt Kwacala said.

The state’s attorney said more adjustments to the law are down the road. He said the Illinois Supreme Court is looking into whether to prohibit police searches based on the smell of cannabis.

“Different states that have legal cannabis….their courts have come down differently,” Kwacala said. “Some have said, no, you can’t search based upon the smell of cannabis because it’s a legal product.”

Kwacala said it’s best for people to just play it safe and not take any chances with getting in trouble.

“So the safest thing to do, for right now until we learn these things, would be to keep it inside of your home,” Kwacala said.

The supreme court’s ruling on stopping police searches over the smell of weed is still far out. It could be until the summer before they make a decision.

The nearest cannabis dispensaries are in Quincy and Canton. Illinois is the 11th state to legalize marijuana.