PEORIA -- Law enforcement officials across the state have expressed concerns about the legalization of recreational marijuana - but Peoria County Sheriff Brian Asbell says he’s optimistic about the change.
“As many, many know I have been an advocate for this legalization, I believe regulation of cannabis is the best route for us to go. Eventually, we’ll have a better outcome," he said.
Asbell said he believes cannabis should be regulated similarly to alcohol.
Gov. J.B. Pritzker said he will sign into law a recreational marijuana bill passed by the Illinois General Assembly.
Asbell said it will take time to tell how the legalization will impact law enforcement. He said it will take longer to analyze blood and urine tests to assess DUI for cannabis, but he said standard field sobriety tests can still be used to tell if a person is too impaired to drive.
Asbell said K-9 drug dogs and their handlers will face new challenges under the new law.
“Our dogs are currently trained to detect cannabis, so this is something we’re going to have to really think about, and get some policy in place on what to do with our K-9 division," Asbell said.
That policy will have to say if a police dog getting a positive hit on cannabis is enough to warrant a search.
Asbell said the answer is unclear. A K-9 Unit can detect marijuana, but the dogs have no way of indicating if the amount is above the planned 30 gram legal limit of cannabis flower.