NewsCovering Kentucky


Illinois legalizes recreational pot; what it means for for neighboring KY counties

Posted at 12:15 PM, Jan 01, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-01 12:15:32-05

MCCRACKEN COUNTY, Ky. (LEX 180 — Starting Wednesday, recreational marijuana is legal to purchase and own in Illinois. However, there are some questions about what this means for areas in Kentucky that border the state, like Paducah in western Kentucky.

“The important thing to remember is that the legislators in Kentucky still deem any amount of possession of marijuana to be illegal,” said McCracken County Sheriff Matt Carter. “Until that changes in Kentucky, Kentucky law enforcement, and across the commonwealth, are going to continue enforce the laws of the commonwealth fairly and equally.”

Carter said he doesn't want to speculate on whether there will be an increase in the amount of people caught with marijuana.

“What I would rather do is maybe reevaluate this in six months and see if any changes have taken place,” he said. “I think it's reasonable that it could cause an increase.”

As for tax payers concerned their money is being put toward housing inmates facing marijuana charges, Carter wants to put some misconceptions to rest.

“There are actually very few people over in the jail incarcerated here in McCracken County for just a marijuana charge only. There are probably several that has other harder drugs attached along with that,” said Carter. “As far as just marijuana possession, that typically just consists of an officer cutting an individual a citation for possession.”

Carter emphasized marijuana is still illegal in Kentucky and if you're caught with any amount you will face charges.