Illinois became the 11th state in the United States to legalize marijuana for recreational use this week, which is a change that police in the state have not been looking forward to.
Now that legalization is officially sanctioned by law, police aren’t going to have much of a choice but to go along with it. Law enforcement administrators have said that they would honor the law, but while the policy was being debated, police representatives made some ridiculous statements in a desperate attempt to provoke fear of legalization and keep prohibition going in the state. One of the most absurd claims about the legalization of marijuana in the state of Illinois was the idea that police dogs would need to be euthanized if the policy changed.
Chad Larner, the training director of the K-9 Training Academy in Macon County, Illinois, said that the animals would need to be killed if marijuana was legalized because their police training would be useless, and they would be unsafe to integrate into the public.
Larner quickly retracted his statement after it made national headlines, saying that it was a poor choice of words, admitting that there would actually be many uses for the animals if they weren’t needed to bust marijuana users.
Still, Larner’s threats showed just how desperate the police were to keep the prohibition policies intact. It also seemed to be somewhat of a coordinated effort between police in the state to spread this story, because the Pentagraph article where Larner’s comments were initially published also featured quotes from other officers who were making similar threats, such as Assistant Police Chief Steve Petrilli of the Normal Police Department.
Demand has been overwhelming for the first day of marijuana sales in the state of Illinois. In towns throughout the state, excited buyers were lined up around the block in front of cannabis storefronts.
First day weed is legal in Illinois & this is the line outside the Romeoville dispensary. I turned right tf back around 😂 pic.twitter.com/X7pBe2JfFQ
— The 🅱️ig Le🅱️oofski (@BlGBOOF) January 1, 2020
Lt. Gov. Juliana Stratton was even among the first customers in line to make a purchase on New Year’s Day.
Illinois has also integrated criminal justice reform into its legalization policy, having cleared 11,000 marijuana convictions, which will release thousands of nonviolent offenders from prison and clear their records so they are not held back from employment opportunities.