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Illinois prosecutor warns against smoking and driving

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COLLINSVILLE, Ill. – On day two of legal recreational marijuana sales in Illinois, the attraction to a Collinsville dispensary held its momentum.

As the state brings in millions in new revenue, Madison County State’s Attorney Tom Gibbons talked about the safety aspect of the new law.

The excitement and willingness to wait for weed continued at Illinois Supply and Provisions on day two of sales.

Gibbons said though cannabis consumption is not new, he has a message.

“Really, it comes down to a similar message we’ve preached for decades – don’t smoke and drive; stay home,” he said.

One of the provisions of the law is only using cannabis in private locations.

Though breathalyzer equipment has aided law enforcement in identifying drunk drivers, technology for cannabis customers must catch up across the state.

“We don’t have those same technologies, so officers have already for decades relied on their own instincts and training to recognize the signs of impairment,” Gibbons said.

Gibbon said law enforcement has been training since the summer on the new laws.

Also, with more than 77,000 transactions across the state, he said he recognizes some of those shoppers will be new recreational users.

“If you’re a new user, remember when you started using alcohol,” Gibbons said. “Obviously, you don’t start going home and drinking shots of Everclear because it will drop you on the floor. You can have the same kind of experience.”

Andrew Vanek visited the dispensary from Ohio.

“I think the issue is with somebody just taking it on their own will and not asking the right questions. They’re very informative inside (the store),” Vanek said.

Visitors of this dispensary, in particular, said not only did the “budtenders” offer consumption suggestions, the laws and stipulations were also made clear while they customized their cannabis experience.

“They tell you about the laws, they tell you not to smoke on the property, and there’s a patrol office around this area so they are very cautious about what they do and how they do it,” Vanek said.

While law enforcement works with the new law and encourages safe usage, Gibbons said he sees the potential to cut down on crime.

“One of the reasons I do support the legalization inference is now that we’ve seen how this is being implemented, we are looking forward to eliminating the illegal market in cannabis,” Gibbons said.

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