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After June 27th, Chicago may be looking at a new type of punishment towards those who are caught with 15 grams or less of marijuana.
After reviewing the costs to the city, Mayor Rahm Emanuel has found that the police force is being preoccupied by smaller crimes when they should be out patrolling the streets. The largest portion of police time is being used to chase and prosecute alleged users of marijuana which typically end up being thrown out of court.
Currently the punishment for carrying a small amount of pot is a misdemeanor charge that can carry up to a six month sentence and a $1,500 fine. Chicago’s mayor is standing beside ticketing as a punishment instead of jail time for people found to be carrying the substance. The police officers would have the option to write tickets for fines between $100 to $500 max as reported by the Chicago Tribune.
“It’s not decriminalization. It’s dealing with it in a different way and a different penalty,” Emanuel said Tuesday at an unrelated press conference.
He amended the proposal shortly before submitting it to say, all the collected fine money would be used for an anti-drug campaign geared towards Chicago’s youth.
“I want to make sure our children get a clear and unambiguous message as it relates to drug use: it is wrong and it is dangerous,” the mayor said.
Once the policy goes into effect, the city is estimated to save about $1 million and free up police resources they can keep a better eye on crime throughout the town. The plan will go into consideration Thursday before it reaches the full council on June 27th.