Decriminalization Laws For Marijuana In Illinois Go Into Effect Immediately
Almost four years after Chicago decriminalized marijuana, its home state did the same. Illinois citizens with 10 grams or less of pot will no longer face jail time for carrying the drug. Instead, they will just receive just a fine of up to $200. It’s the twenty-first state to enact a marijuana decriminalization policy.
This bill goes into effect instantly and also expunges records biannually to prevent them from permanently possessing a criminal record.
“We applaud Gov. Rauner and the legislature for replacing Illinois’s needlessly draconian marijuana possession law with a much more sensible policy. This commonsense legislation will prevent countless citizens from having their lives turned upside down by a marijuana possession arrest,” Chris Lindsey, senior legislative counsel for the Marijuana Policy Project, said in a statement .
The bill designates an effort by Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner and a largely Democratic legislature to improve the state’s criminal justice system by combating the devastating number of arrests of small-scale drug offenders, which disproportionately affect the state’s black population. (One Urban Institute report from 2013 showed that black Illinois residents were incarcerated at nine times the rate of white residents.)
Previously, those found in possession of 2.5 grams of weed or less faced 30 days of jail time. While those in possession of 2.5-10 grams could spend up to six months in jail. Both misdemeanors also carried fines of up to $1,500.
The fines associated with carrying 10 grams of marijuana apply only to residents who don’t live in one of the 100 communities with existing decriminalization laws. Chicago residents, for instance, could still face fines ranging from $250 to $500 for possessing up to 15 grams of marijuana.
Either way, this is a start in the right direction. Especially, for those needing it for medical care. What is your take on it ? Are you for it or against it?