Police in Decatur and Macon County are gearing up for what officials expect will be an increase in impaired drivers after recreational cannabis becomes legal in Illinois next month.
Police and sheriff’s deputies are already trained to spot drivers who are drunk or high, but many are receiving additional training. Enforcing the new law could be complicated because cannabis can take many forms, such as edibles, which can look and smell like regular food. While a breathalyzer test can detect whether a driver has been drinking, blood tests will be used to determine if someone is driving while impaired by cannabis — expanding on a tool police already use to find drugs in a driver’s system.
“We will enforce how we interpret the legislation to the best of our ability,” said Decatur Police Chief Jim Getz. “We are going to make traffic stops based on violations and use our observations to take the next steps if things go further.”
The blood tests could be done at a hospital or by police who are trained in forensic phlebotomy. Of 10 officers in the state with such training, four of them are in Macon County, according to several of those interviewed by the Herald & Review.