By "Radical" Russ Belville
Chicago Alderman are lining up to support a plan to decriminalize personal possession of marijuana, defined as ten grams (~1/3rd oz). The proposed ordinance would be replacing arrests and jail with a $200 fine that could raise $7 million a year for the cash-strapped Windy City.
As reported by Associated Press, the proponent of the measure, Chicago Alderman Danny Solis will introduce the ordinance tomorrow. The idea already has the backing of Alderman Willie Cochran, a former Chicago police officer.
“In these trying times of the economy, we could really use the revenue generated by fines versus Arrests,” Solis said. “And each (arrest) means police officers are spending an inordinate amount of time outside the neighborhoods, inside the district offices doing paperwork.”
“I support it because people are getting arrested, going into court and judges are … dismissing (the cases) and releasing them all anyway,” Cochran said.
According to the Cook County Clerk of the Circuit Court, 87% of misdemeanor possession cases are dismissed at trial. Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle noted that the city spent $78 million on marijuana arrests.
Hey, Chicago, if you’re looking to make a buck off pot smokers and direct scarce police resources away from marijuana arrests, how about convincing lawmakers in Springfield to legalize marijuana? Then you can collect a tax on us without having to catch us with pot!