Illinois considers scaling back marijuana laws

Discussion in 'Marijuana News' started by oltex, Jan 26, 2011.

  1. Illinois considers scaling back marijuana laws
    DailyIllini / Brendon Denison / 1,24,2011


    Despite the failure of California's Proposition 19 initiative last November, legislation progressing the legal use of marijuana continues to pop up across the country, including in Illinois where House Bill 100 was introduced into the House of Representatives Jan. 12.

    House Bill 100 would lower the consequences of possession under 28.35 grams of cannabis from a Class A Misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in jail and a $2,500 fee down to a petty offense similar to a traffic violation, in lieu of a criminal offense.

    If passed, the bill would require a $500 fee from first time offenders, $750 from second time offenders and $1,000 for each offense thereafter.
    State Rep. LaShawn Ford, D-8, introduced the bill and said he expects it would free up the court systems and reduce the number of people who receive criminal background histories for low amounts of cannabis.

    “We are not in the position of denying people access to work, and that's what this is all about,” Ford said. Ford said he wasn't yet exactly sure how much Illinois would save by not prosecuting small possession misdemeanors. “A lot of these individuals need public defenders; some of them may be arrested and put behind bars,” Ford said.

    The representative believed that with 50 percent of the fines marked for the law enforcement agency, “we could put more police on the street.”
    University Deputy Chief of Police Jeffrey Christensen agreed that the extra funding would help if the University Police Department were to receive any of that money.“Funding drugs is one thing that's kind of self-sustaining, because of all the forfeitures you get,” Christensen said. Christensen also noted that drug arrests on campus have gone down since 2009.

    Furthermore, Patrol Division Commander of University Police Lieutenant Skip Frost admitted, “Not all two grams of weed we come in contact with results in an arrest.” “Depending on the amount and the level of cooperation we get from students, we'll let student discipline deal with it,” he added.

    President of Students for a Sensible Drug Policy on campus Dylan Christopher felt the bill would positively affect public safety, and people would be a lot less paranoid about possession. “The police will be spending time searching for other things, like violent criminals and assaults,” Christopher said.

    The bill has since been referred to the Rules Committee in the state House of Representatives, and will be likely assigned to a Judiciary Committee. Once approved by these processes, it would move to the floor for vote.
    Ford said he expects that Gov. Pat Quinn would sign it because “it's not going to hurt anybody.”

    “Anytime you can decriminalize this amount and bring revenue into the city, there would be good,” Ford said.
     
  2. I don't think it'll happen here in IL anytime within the next 5 years.

    It is definatly a step in the right direction though before trying to jump right into MMJ or full blown decriminilization or legalization.

    I WOULD NOT mind a $500 fine over a misdeamoner.
     
  3. This is great news to me, Tex. Southern Illinois is right off my back porch. With a bill like this setting up so close to home, it gives me hope that Kentucky may wise up sooner than later. I hope they wise up before trying to pass that new bill requiring people receiving any state aid to be subject to random drug tests though. Rather than saving Kentucky money, that bill will cost the citizens of my state multi millions. I hope things go off without a hitch for Illinois. Let them be another shining example of how different things could be if we'd just leave the harmless pot smokers alone, while concentrating their efforts on more important things like education and health care.
     
  4. I really hope this happens. Not 3 weeks ago I was being processed at my county Sheriff's office for possession of 7g.

    I'll likely have to go on court supervision for a year and then some, and hopefully get the entire misdemeanor expunged from my record down the road. Not to mention a $1,200+ fine.
     
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