Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel explained publicly for the first time Tuesday why he is throwing his support behind a controversial proposal that would give police officers the option to ticket, rather than arrest, people for having small amounts of marijuana.
“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.
The mayor last week issued a statement announcing his backing for the proposal introduced last fall by Alderman Danny Solis.
He said he changed his stance on the matter after his administration analyzed the amount of police time used to chase and prosecute suspected users, especially given that many of the cases are thrown out in court.
“I got comfortable with this because I think this is the right thing to do for a number of reasons. It does not undermine what we’re trying to do on fighting crime,” Emanuel said, according to the Chicago Tribune.
People currently found to possess small amounts of marijuana face a misdemeanor charge punishable by up to six months in jail and a $1,500 fine. The proposal stipulates police officers would have the option to write tickets with fines ranging from $100 to $500 for people carrying 15 grams or less of marijuana, according to the Chicago Tribune.
Emanual also announced he had amended the proposal so that a portion of any revenue collected would be earmarked for an anti-drug campaign aimed at kids.
“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.
The mayor said the move would free up police resources and save the city about $1 million.
THAT IS A GREAT SOLUTION…ITS MORE COST EFFECTIVE IN THE LONG RUN AND SAD TO SAY, MARIJUANA ISN’T GOING ANYWHERE & NEITHER ARE THE USERS…LOL