Regional drug unit targets illegal drug activity

Narcotic drug activity is being targeted in Boone County, Illinois, through a new task force developed in October 2015. The narcotics unit is in its initial weeks of operation and has detained its first alleged offenders. Officials indicate that they believe drugs are a serious cause of problems, noting that a lack of drug activity would likely eliminate much of the crime in the region. Leaders believe that this special unit, which is comprised of officers from the city of Belvidere and from the county sheriff's department, will help with crime prevention by targeting drugs such as crack cocaine and heroin.

There are some concerns because the drug trafficking charges in these initial cases have been filed in connection with marijuana and mushrooms, substances that have been controversial in recent years. Although Illinois has not passed recreational use legislation, it did enact legislation in 2013 that permitted limited use of marijuana for medical purposes. Critics of the task force's initial detentions note that with the right legislation in place, the same individuals might be viewed as business people. They also note that states with laws permitting recreational use of marijuana are earning a great deal of tax revenue.

Because the use of marijuana and other recreational drugs is still illegal at the federal level, there is a great deal of room for conflict, especially as access to certain drugs becomes easier in some states. Further, individuals may face difficulties related to their sale of drugs that are approved for medical use as they encounter misunderstandings in trying to obtain permission to sell these materials.

An individual who is charged with a drug crime such as possession or trafficking of marijuana might seek legal assistance if the material was related to medical necessity. A lawyer might help in obtaining medical documentation to support such a claim.

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