Local police not concerned about Illinois medical marijuana bill

The four-year trial program will be the strictest law of its kind in the county

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Authorities in Iowa City and at the University of Iowa say they haven’t had much time to consider a medical marijuana bill signed into law in Illinois on Thursday, but suspect the new measure is too restrictive to cause any problems locally.

“There has been absolutely zero discussion,” said UI public safety director Chuck Green, who just read about the new law on Thursday. “I can’t really tell you if anyone is concerned about it.”

But, based on news coverage of the measure, Green said it sounded like a “fairly restrictive deal” and doubted it would create any issues.

According to the Chicago Tribune, the four-year trial program will be the strictest law of its kind in the county. The medical marijuana will be used to treat patients suffering from nausea due to cancer treatments and provide stress relief for people suffering from multiple sclerosis.

The new law won’t take effect until Jan. 1.

Users will only be prescribed 2.5 ounces of marijuana over a two-week period and must have a prior and ongoing medical relationship with the prescribing doctor, according to the Tribune.

Sgt. Scott Gaarde, leader of the Iowa City Police Department’s Street Crimes Action Team, which focuses on drug activity and violent crime, said that such a small amount isn’t likely to make much of an impact in the local drug trade.

“I don’t think it will affect much at all,” Gaarde said.

Green said if police start finding medical marijuana on campus, he’ll confer with Johnson County Attorney Janet Lyness rather than try to interpret how Illinois laws should be enforced in Iowa. Green said he intends to discuss Illinois’ new law with Lyness and his colleagues in law enforcement in the near future.

For now, Green said he doesn’t see the medical marijuana bill becoming an issue.

“I don’t have any concerns at this time,” he said.

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