Chicago City Council Committee Approves New Chicago Marijuana Policy

CHICAGO—(ENEWSPF)—June 21, 2012.  The Chicago City Council committee on Thursday voted 12 to 1 to approve a new Chicago marijuana policy.  Mayor Rahm Emanuel last week indicated his support of the proposed policy that would allow Chicago Police to issue tickets instead of making arrests for possession of 15 grams of marijuana or less. 

Emanuel has said the change frees up police for more serious crime and saves the department about $1 million annually.  The mayor’s office finds that there were 45,000-plus police hours used for 18,298 arrests last year for possession of less than 10 grams of marijuana. Each case needed four officers to arrest and transport offenders.

Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy told the committee, “We are not talking about decriminalization, we are talking about holding people accountable.”

Under the new policy, McCarthy said officers would have the option of issuing a ticket to someone, rather than placing them under arrest. Arrests would be mandated for anyone caught smoking marijuana in public or possessing marijuana in or near a school or in or near a park

Under the plan, anyone caught with marijuana under the age of 17 or without proper identification would still be arrested. Tickets would range from $250 to $500.  

The plan goes to the full City Council next week.