City to discuss proposed pot plan

June 21, 2012 (CHICAGO)

There is a new plan that would lighten the punishment for pot users and officials are going to be talking about this plan. City council committee will discuss the proposal of changing the ordinance at 10 a.m. Thursday.

It is backed by Emanuel and Ald. Danny Solis. Under the proposal police would have the choice to issue a $250 ticket for 15 grams of marijuana or less.

The mayor and superintendent say it will save police time and money and allow them to focus on more serious crimes.

Police say last year there were more than 18,000 marijuana arrests of people possessing less than 10 grams and each case requires the use of four officers and requires the use of court system.

The mayor expects critics but said that crime experts have been analyzing the idea for several months.

"It's about 80 percent of the cases (that) are thrown out on these low level amounts," Emanuel said. "That uses court time, police time, resources...All the time that you lose, when you could be doing -- which is more essential in my view -- is fighting the big drug dealers and the gangbangers."

A vote could come as soon as next week. If it passes, the ordinance could go into effect by July.

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