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Beloit Police push dangers of recreational marijuana at community meetings

BELOIT (WKOW) — With five and a half months until recreational marijuana is legal in Illinois, officials in Beloit are working hard to get ahead of the narrative.

“I can’t really find one benefit to legalizing marijuana,” said Beloit Police Chief David Zibolski.

Thursday was the second of three community meetings held at the Rotary Center at Riverside Park where police and other local anti-drug organizations used PowerPoint slides and professionally-produced videos to push the dangers of marijuana, especially in kids.

Chief Zibolski says the public has become too confused by terms that, in his opinion, have been unfairly lumped together.

“It’s very convoluted and confusing between CBD, hemp, marijuana, medical marijuana, legalized marijuana,” he said.

One attendee concerned and confused was Clarice Shamsid-Deen.

“If it does get passed, how will they take it and use it?” she said. “I just hope it doesn’t pass because I don’t know what good is going to come out of it if it does pass.”

Presenters capitalized on those concerns Thursday with their anti-drug messages. Chief Zibolski says crime will come to Wisconsin as soon as Illinois law changes.

“I don’t think we’re going to necessarily step up enforcement,” he said. “It’s going to come to our attention. We’re going to see the accidents. We’re going to probably stop the car stops with those who don’t realize they’ve crossed the state border.”

Chief Zibolski says he wants people to take these viewpoints into consideration should Wisconsin lawmakers move toward joining an increasing number of states, including Illinois, in legalizing recreational marijuana.

The next meeting will be held August 1 and will focus specifically on preventing youth from becoming addicted.

Andrew Merica

Reporter/Producer, 27 News

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