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Missouri law enforcement reacts to Illinois marijuana legalization

PALMYRA, Mo. – Marijuana possession carries a stiff penalty in the Show-Me-State and Missouri law enforcement officials said they’re not too high on the idea of legal recreational just across the river.

Palmyra police chief Eddie Bouge said Illinois’ legal marijuana could become Missouri’s problem.

“It hits too close to home,” he said. “Being so close to Illinois, we’re probably going to get some people that are driving impaired or under the influence of marijuana as they drive over into Missouri.”

Due to the state’s law, Bouge said people driving high run the risks of getting a DWI.

“Missouri’s DWI statute reads as driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, so the marijuana would fit into the drug category,” he said.

Others point to the benefits of legalization.

“It brings prices down and makes everything more accessible,” Illinois resident Jennifer Dobbs said.

Dobbs said she takes medicinal marijuana for a number of conditions and said legalizing recreational marijuana allows people who aren’t able to qualify for a med card to get the care they need.

“In this state it really has been difficult to get a card, doctors are kind of reluctant to sign for them,” she said.

Bouge urged people looking to partake in marijuana to be careful, especially when they’re on the road.

“This is a substance that will slow down your reaction time and possibly how you think,” he said.

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Blake Sammann

Blake Sammann is a reporter and weekend anchor at WGEM News.

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