Prosecutor weighs in on recreational marijuana law
LAKE COUNTY — With recreational marijuana going into effect on Thursday, Dec. 6, Lake County Prosecutor Craig Cooper said any marijuana charges which come up before then will be looked at on an individual basis.
"We are taking it on case by case for those arrested for marijuana-related charges (before Dec. 6)," Cooper said. "When the recreational marijuana law goes into effect, people older than 21 will be allowed 2.5 ounces of marijuana in their vehicles and 10 ounces in their homes. If there are more serious violations before Dec. 6, I might consider prosecution. My job is to enforce the law."
Cooper said he will respect the voice of the voters.
"Legalizing recreational marijuana was what the majority of people voted in, and I don't want to interfere with what voters voted in," he said.
With Dec. 6 just around the corner, he doesn't want to waste resources prosecuting cases which just involve simple possession of marijuana, but if more serious cases come up, like distribution of drugs for money, he will follow state law.
He also noted medical marijuana has been legal since 2012, and the legalization of recreational marijuana will change dynamics with the stipulations of medical marijuana.
"Legalized recreational marijuana will alleviate some of those technicalities of keeping up with patient-doctor relationships and the medical marijuana card. With recreational marijuana, patients are allowed a certain amount anyway," he said.
Cooper is working with the Lake County Sheriff's Office to come up with a plan on how to deal with recreational marijuana, which is new for everyone, he added.
"After Dec. 6, we will make sure the state law is followed," he said. "The major two things are to make sure drugs aren't being illegally sold and make sure kids don't have access. We also want to make sure people are not driving impaired. I foresee down the road, recreational marijuana will be treated like alcohol. We just want to keep everyone safe with the new law."