While the debate concerning the legalization of marijuana gains steam and attention in across the nation, most Southern Illinois authorities don't feel legalizing the recreational drug is the right way to go.
From small carries to large distributions, local law enforcement make hundreds of cannabis-related arrests each year and plan to continue the fight to keep marijuana off the streets.
"I'm against it," said Perry County Sheriff Keith Kellerman. "They're going to continue to use drugs, so why legalize it?"
A member of the Perry County Drug Task Force and the Illinois Sheriff's Association's legislative committee, Kellerman said cannabis prohibition laws aren't stopping people from using the drug, so removing the laws will only enhance the problem of drug use.
Kellerman said the ISA will soon be taking action against ‘K2', or ‘Spice', a synthetic form of marijuana that is legally marketed in the United States as incense. Kellerman described the drug as a "scaled-down version of marijuana" that has the same effect as its illegal counterpart.
"We've ran into a little bit of it here," he said. "They're going to have to get some laws in place to counter that. We will be addressing that issue."
Union County Sheriff David Livesay said he's heard information on both sides of the legal marijuana debate, but can't say he would approve of legalization.
"I don't know if legalizing marijuana is the answer," he said. "I hate to say it would be."
Livesay said he's heard a lot lately about the legalization of marijuana for medical purposes, but doesn't think evidence supporting the cause is significant enough to merit legalization.
"Until we can see some studies where it showed something of more significance, I'd be opposed to that," he said.