Image of Police Chief Mark Alexander
 
ONTARIO, Ore. - Oregon's marijuana law is set to take effect on July 1, allowing for recreational sales and use of the drug for people 21 and older.
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Now, as people in Oregon will be able to legally possess up to 1 ounce of pot, law enforcement officers in Oregon and Idaho are preparing for the change - and the influx of people they say will be crossing state lines to get high.
 
Ontario Police Chief Mark Alexander says legalizing recreational marijuana will have a big effect on the community he serves.
 
"Being on the border, we would have an influx potentially of people from the metro area of Idaho," he said. "And with I-84 coming right through town, this is the logical geographical route for out-of-staters to come seek marijuana."
 
Heading to Oregon to get high is one thing, but it's still against federal law to bring marijuana across state lines.
 
"Once you cross that border into Idaho it is illegal in any form," Idaho State Police Trooper Steven Farley said.
 
Idaho State Police troopers say Oregon's marijuana law will keep them busy.
 
"It's definitely going to increase the volume of marijuana that's going to be coming into our state" Farley said.
 
State troopers are also worried about the accessibility of I-84.
 
"It's just a lot of vehicles with the possibility of trafficking that marijuana and the limited number of officers we have to combat that," Farley said.
 
Troopers say they'll continue to make traffic stops, and look for signs of drug use and possession once Oregon's marijuana law takes effect.
 
One factor that could slow down some pot problems, at least in the beginning: Regulations for marijuana retailers won't be in place this summer.
 
"So July 1 you can legally possess marijuana, but there's no retail outlets for that," Alexander said.
 
The Oregon Liquor Control Commission will set those rules by the end of the year, then start issuing licenses to retailers.
 
That means people looking for legal marijuana from July to January will have to grow their own or be given some from a friend.
 
But the Ontario police chief said that presents more challenges once the law takes effect.
 
"Other ways they're going to get it and possess it we just won't know where it's coming from," Alexander said.
 
Another concern: people driving under the influence after using marijuana.
 
Law enforcement officers say they're concerned traffic crashes could increase once Oregon's law takes effect. Especially if out-of-towners are coming here to Ontario or other cities on the Oregon/Idaho border to get high.
 
Again, the use, possession and trafficking of marijuana is illegal in Idaho. Penalties include citation or arrest and prosecution.
 
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