Chicago OKs Pot Tickets instead of Arrest

I’ve always said that marijuana will be decriminalized when the politicos figure out how to get their cut of the money in the pot. (pun intended). . . . EDITOR

from Cannabis News

Posted by CN Staff on June 28, 2012 at 09:52:07 PT
By Kristen Mack, Tribune Reporters 
Source: Chicago Tribune 

Chicago — The Chicago City Council voted overwhelmingly Wednesday to decriminalize marijuana possession, joining a wave of states and big cities that have opted for fines instead of arrests for small amounts of the drug.

Starting Aug. 4, police can issue tickets of $250 to $500 for someone caught with 15 grams or less of pot — the equivalent of about 25 cigarette-sized joints. Given that more than 18,000 people are arrested for pot possession in Chicago each year, the new law could generate millions of dollars for the city.

The push for pot tickets marks the latest in an increasingly long line of Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s maneuvers to find new sources of money that largely rely on penalizing people who run afoul of the law. The mayor counted on bad behavior to balance his first budget, anticipating that the city would raise $26 million in increased fines for such offenses as failing to cut high weeds, not feeding parking meters and driving with a suspended license.

This fall, cameras are expected to begin clocking motorists who speed on Chicago streets, resulting in tickets of up to $100 and tens of millions of dollars for the city. Emanuel framed that controversial plan as a way to leverage technology to better protect children near schools and parks.

Like the speed-camera plan, Emanuel insisted Wednesday that the marijuana fines aren’t about the money.

“It’s not about revenue, it’s about what (police officers) were doing with their time,” the mayor said. “The only revenue I’m interested in, I don’t want to be paying for these officers time and a half to sit in a courtroom for four hours on something that 80 to 90 percent of the time will be thrown out and everybody, both the residents and police officers and judges, already knows the outcome.” . . . Read Complete Report

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