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Thousands line up for first recreational pot sales in Illinois

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MUNDELEIN, Ill. (CBS 58) -- With a new year, comes a controversial new law in Illinois. Starting Jan. 1, stores are already selling recreational marijuana, but local leaders near the Wisconsin border have raised concerns people will bring it back. 

In Mundelein, Illinois, huge crowds formed throughout the day Wednesday. There were more than 1,000 people at any given time, and a lot of them were from Wisconsin. 

Wisconsinites went in droves to Illinois to buy marijuana. 

"We woke up about 5:30 a.m., drove down here for about an hour. Been in line for about four hours," said Dylan Christianson of Kenosha. 

Despite repeated warnings from law enforcement, some say they're driving it across the state border. 

"I’m bringing it back. It’s going to make it to the land, and I’m going to get high. So, I ain’t worried about it bro. I’m smoking my weed," said Isaiah Miller of Kenosha. 

Others say they're playing it safe by using the products in Illinois, and waiting until they're sober to drive back. 

"Enjoying the tourism that's legally allowed here. Going to stay here, and do it correctly," said Troi Fechner of Racine. 

Green Thumb Industries CEO Ben Kovler says you can't buy quite as much with an out-of-state ID. 

"The limits are about 30 grams for an Illinois resident, 15 for out of state. It's about half of each category for the out-of-state people," Kovler said. 

Kovler said it's easy to enjoy his products without breaking the law. 

"It's illegal to bring it back to Wisconsin, or to Milwaukee, but there's plenty of places to stay here and be here and enjoy what's happening in Illinois," Kovler said. 

The Kenosha County Sheriff's Department says they don't have a special task force and they aren't setting up a road block.

But you could be charged with a felony if caught bringing marijuana into Wisconsin.

Legalization bills have been introduced in Madison. Melissa Sargent is one of the authors.

In the last midterm elections, 16 Wisconsin counties were asked if they wanted some version of legalization. All 16 voted yes. In Milwaukee County, 70 percent said yes to full legalization. 85 percent of Racine County wanted medical marijuana, as did 88 percent of Kenosha County.


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