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November 2, 2011

New proposal in Chicago to decriminalize marijuana to save money

This new Reuters article, which is headlined "Chicago aldermen back marijuana decriminalization proposal," reports on the latest criminal justice reform effort driven by tight budget times:

A group of Chicago aldermen plan to introduce an ordinance at a Wednesday city council meeting that would decriminalize possessing small amounts of marijuana. Supporters say the measure would help raise revenue for the city, save money and free up police to pursue more serious crimes.

Cook County Commissioner John Fritchey said the city's 23,000 annual arrests for small amounts of marijuana cost the county $80 million a year, even though 90 percent of the cases are thrown out. "At a time when the city is searching for ways to maximize the resources of the police, it doesn't make sense to lose 80,000 man-hours a year for cases that are being dismissed," Fritchey said.

If the plan passes, people caught in Chicago with 10 grams or less of marijuana would get a $200 ticket, instead of facing a misdemeanor charge punishable by up to six months in prison.

Fourteen states and some U.S. municipalities, including Seattle, Washington, have already decriminalized possession of small amounts of marijuana, according to Allen St. Pierre, executive director of NORML, a lobbying group working to legalize the drug....

Opponents of decriminalization believe it normalizes drug use, said Amy Ronshausen, manager of congressional and legislative affairs for the Drug Free America Foundation. "If you're normalizing drug use, it means users are going to use it more," said Ronshausen. "It's not as harmless as the pro-drug lobby would have you believe."...

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel was not immediately available for comment regarding the decriminalization proposal. Chicago Alderman Proco "Joe" Moreno, a supporter of the proposed ordinance, said in a Huffington Post editorial that anti-marijuana laws are used against minorities in Chicago more than whites, though whites use the drug as much as African-Americans and Latinos.

November 2, 2011 at 10:29 AM | Permalink

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Comments

Why do anti-drug organizations oppose legalization of a mildly addictive substance that kills dozens of people, most in car crashes, and not support the prohibition of two highly addictive substances that directly kill 500,000 middle aged people, and are also found in toxic amounts in half the car fatalities, half the murderers, half the murder victims, and half the suicides?

Proponents of the War on Drugs, including prosecutors and judges supporting it, should get investigated for indirect ties or corruption by Al Qaeda, the Taliban, and the Mexican drug cartel. This war is really a government make work program of no value to the public. It does lend high price supports to the terror organizations that supply it. So all those in that rent seeking enterprise, the War on Drugs, should be investigated for treason and collaboration with the terrorist enemies of the nation. There should be a rebuttable presumption that anti-drug organizations are fronts for Al Qaeda, the Taliban, and the Mexican drug cartel until proven otherwise, funding them through front companies with legitimacy. If a link to the terror organizations can be proven, the responsible officers should be arrested and summarily executed for treason after a brief fair trial.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Nov 3, 2011 4:29:02 AM

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