23 states across the country have legalized the purchase, smoking and cultivation of marijuana, and Minnesota will soon become the 24th. With commercial sales at least a year away, will the change in Minnesota law cause problems for law enforcement in neighboring states? Wisconsin’s top police chief says no.
“For the most part, it’s still business as usual here in Wisconsin,” said Wisconsin’s top police chief, Nicholas Alexander. “So, obviously most people recognize that they’re two separate states. And indeed, our city and department have taken some steps over the years to reduce the potential impact of the criminal justice system on those who possess marijuana. A good example is that we created an ordinance violation, which basically made it a non-criminal event at 25 grams and under.
But business as usual, that doesn’t mean there’s anything to worry about.
“In Wisconsin, the possession, distribution or manufacture of marijuana, THC is still a prohibited act or statute,” Chief Alexander said. “First time offenses can be a misdemeanor, if there are repeat offense options and then the sale and delivery can be a serious offence. And that hasn’t changed.”
Marijuana tourism has the potential to become a huge new source of income. In Illinois – where marijuana is legal – non-residents spend $32 million a month through 2023. And sales to residents represent 25% of total sales in the state.
Forbes reports that a quarter of all cannabis sales in the United States come from tourists. Specifically, for every dollar spent by tourists at cannabis dispensaries, $2.80 is pumped into the local economy.