Breaking News:URGENT: Call Congress TODAY to Save DC Marijuana Legalization!

Chicago to Decriminalize Marijuana Possession?

Chicago could be about to decriminalize the possession of small amounts of marijuana. Alderman Daniel Solis will introduce a proposal at this week's city council meeting to make possession of up to 10 grams a $200 ticket, with up to 10 hours of community service.

Chicago skyline
Solis and other supportive aldermen joined Cook County Commissioner John Fritchey at a press conference last week to drum up support for their proposal. County commissioners have already decriminalized small-time pot possession in unincorporated areas of the county.

Marijuana possession is currently a Class B misdemeanor in the city, with punishments ranging up to six months in jail and a $1,500 fine. Chicago police arrest about 23,000 people a year for simple possession.

"It is not time to act tough on crime, it is time to be smart on crime. We need our resources spent somewhere else," Fritchey said, adding that the arrests and prosecutions eat up valuable law enforcement time and money.

Alderman Walter Burnett noted that minorities make up the vast number of those arrested for pot possession, and those arrests remain on their records even if the charges are dropped. He also noted that he had seen open marijuana use at rock concerts with no one getting arrested.

"I had the opportunity to go to Lollapalooza, Pitchfork, and I think I got contact high being at all those events," Burnett said. "Police there, everything. It wasn't predominantly African American, and guess what? No one got arrested at those events. If that was an African American event, the jails would probably be filled up. I think it's almost a discrimination issue."

Chicago Police Superintendant Garry McCarthy has talked about decriminalization as a means of keeping his officers on the street rather than tied up processing pot smokers, and Solis said he believes members of Mayor Rahm Emanuel's administration "think it makes sense" although "they haven't given us any strong indication they would support it." Still, said Solis, "Enough is enough."

Chicago, IL
United States
Permission to Reprint: This article is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license.
Looking for the easiest way to join the anti-drug war movement? You've found it!

Pot decriminalization in Chicago

Not all bad.

But anything that increases the demand for illegal marijuana  feeds the Beast.

sandoszabo - Chicago

We Need This!

I hope it happens.

Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd> <img> <i> <blockquote> <p> <address> <pre> <h1> <h2> <h3> <h4> <h5> <h6> <br> <object> <param> <embed> <b>

More information about formatting options

CAPTCHA
This question is for testing whether you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.

Drug War Issues

Criminal JusticeAsset Forfeiture, Collateral Sanctions (College Aid, Drug Taxes, Housing, Welfare), Court Rulings, Drug Courts, Due Process, Felony Disenfranchisement, Incarceration, Policing (2011 Drug War Killings, 2012 Drug War Killings, 2013 Drug War Killings, 2014 Drug War Killings, Arrests, Eradication, Informants, Interdiction, Lowest Priority Policies, Police Corruption, Police Raids, Profiling, Search and Seizure, SWAT/Paramilitarization, Task Forces, Undercover Work), Probation or Parole, Prosecution, Reentry/Rehabilitation, Sentencing (Alternatives to Incarceration, Clemency and Pardon, Crack/Powder Cocaine Disparity, Death Penalty, Decriminalization, Defelonization, Drug Free Zones, Mandatory Minimums, Rockefeller Drug Laws, Sentencing Guidelines)CultureArt, Celebrities, Counter-Culture, Music, Poetry/Literature, Television, TheaterDrug UseParaphernalia, ViolenceIntersecting IssuesCollateral Sanctions (College Aid, Drug Taxes, Housing, Welfare), Violence, Border, Budgets/Taxes/Economics, Business, Civil Rights, Driving, Economics, Education (College Aid), Employment, Environment, Families, Free Speech, Gun Policy, Human Rights, Immigration, Militarization, Money Laundering, Pregnancy, Privacy (Search and Seizure, Drug Testing), Race, Religion, Science, Sports, Women's IssuesMarijuana PolicyGateway Theory, Hemp, Marijuana -- Personal Use, Marijuana Industry, Medical MarijuanaMedicineMedical Marijuana, Science of Drugs, Under-treatment of PainPublic HealthAddiction, Addiction Treatment (Science of Drugs), Drug Education, Drug Prevention, Drug-Related AIDS/HIV or Hepatitis C, Harm Reduction (Methadone & Other Opiate Maintenance, Needle Exchange, Overdose Prevention, Safe Injection Sites)Source and Transit CountriesAndean Drug War, Coca, Hashish, Mexican Drug War, Opium ProductionSpecific DrugsAlcohol, Ayahuasca, Cocaine (Crack Cocaine), Ecstasy, Heroin, Ibogaine, ketamine, Khat, Marijuana (Gateway Theory, Marijuana -- Personal Use, Medical Marijuana, Hashish), Methamphetamine, New Synthetic Drugs (Synthetic Cannabinoids, Synthetic Stimulants), Nicotine, Prescription Opiates (Fentanyl, Oxycontin), Psychedelics (LSD, Mescaline, Peyote, Salvia Divinorum)YouthGrade School, Post-Secondary School, Raves, Secondary School