‘Business as usual’ for Superior police ahead of marijuana legalization in MN

23 states across the country have made it legal to purchase, smoke and grow marijuana, and Minnesota will soon be the 24th. While commercial sales are at least a year away, will the change in Minnesota law cause problems for law enforcement in neighboring states? The Chief of police in Superior, Wisconsin, says no.

“For the most part it’s still business as usual here in Wisconsin,” said Chief of Police in Superior, Wisconsin, Nicholas Alexander. “So, obviously most people recognize that they are two different states. And in fact, our city and department over the years have taken some steps to minimize the impact that the criminal justice system can have on people with possession of marijuana. A good example is we created an ordinance violation, which basically made it a non-criminal event for quantities 25 grams and less.”

But business as usual, doesn’t mean there’s nothing to worry about.

“In Wisconsin, the posession, distribution or manufacture of Marijuana, THC is still a prohibited practice or law,” said Chief Alexander. “It can be a misdemeanor for first-time offence posessions, could be a felony if there’s repeat offence options and then selling and delivering are felonies. And that hasn’t changed.”

Marijuana tourism has the potential to become a huge new source of revenue. In Illinois–where marijuana is legal–non-residents spent $32 million a month so far in 2023. And sales to non-residents represent 25% of total sales in the state.

Forbes estimates one quarter of all cannabis sales in the United States were driven by tourists. Specifically, for every one dollar spent by tourists at cannabis dispensaries, $2.80 is injected into the local economy.