Sunday, June 17, 2012

Even Rahm Emanuel Says Decriminalize Marijuana

Chicago Mayor Emanuel
Phillip Smith
Stop The Drug War

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel (D) said Friday he backed a city council proposal to decriminalize the possession of small amounts of marijuana. The council is set to vote later this month on an ordinance that would decriminalize the possession of up to 15 grams of pot.

Fifteen states, including Rhode Island, whose governor signed a decriminalization bill into law Tuesday, have decriminalized the possession of small amounts of marijuana, as have several large American cities.

Chicago police arrested more than 18,000 people on small-time (less than 10 grams) marijuana possession charges last year. Each arrest involves about four officers -- two to arrest and two to transport -- said a statement from the mayor's office.

"These arrests tied up more than 45,000 police hours," Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy said in the mayor's office statement. "The new ordinance nearly cuts that time in half, which equals an approximate $1 million in savings, while freeing up cops to address more serious crime."

Under existing law, people caught with small amounts of marijuana face up to six months in jail. If the ordinance is approved, they would face only a citation and the loss of their weed.

Emanuel had originally been lukewarm on decriminalization, saying when the topic was broached last year only that he would ask the police to do an analysis. Now, that analysis is in, and Emanuel is on board.

"The result is an ordinance that allows us to observe the law, while reducing the processing time for minor possession of marijuana -- ultimately freeing up police officers for the street," Emanuel said.

The move on decriminalization comes as Chicago faces a long, hot summer. There have been 185 homicides through May 13, up from 116 during the same period last year. And the violence has continued since then, with 22 more people killed this month. Freeing up police resources by decriminalization could be seen as helping to address the violence problem.

The ordinance will likely go for a vote before the City Council on June 27.

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Scott said...

Obama, an admitted pot-head when he was in high school, is a complete hypocrite. He has ignored State rights, his own past history, and his promise during the election to decriminalize pot. Now if Romney wins, then he will do everything in his power to ramp up federal law enforcement of MJ, thus increasing yet further, our exploding prison population by prosecuting people that are looking for a little harmless relaxation after a long hard day at work.

Anonymous said...

It's just too Easy, arresting totally relaxed people who are minding their own business and toking on a blunt by themselves. The State Government MUST keep the private prisons at a nearly Full capacity at all times. That is the Contract they have. And since in theory the private prisons save the staes money it looks so good during re-election. The agreement with Private Prisons should be public record so you'll be able to check the Exact numbers. THEN you'll need that Blunt, because it's Not IF you're going to get arrested for some bogus charge my friend. It is WHEN. I remember when it was the case that you might have known a guy who knew a guy that once knew a guy who was doing time. Now its a question of how many on your own street are presently 'Disappeared' American Style. And its just beginning. Peace

Anonymous said...

Prosecuting for possession is a colossal waste of time and taxpayer money. Regulate and tax like alcohol and tobacco and there you go. Nobody smuggles whiskey. Make smuggling cannabis equally ridiculous and it just won't happen anymore.

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