The City of Chicago has come up with a brilliant solution to reduce the amount of time officers spend on victimless crime and more time combating the city’s surging homicide rate. City Aldermen decriminalized possession of small amounts of marijuana. Chicago’s City Council Wednesday night, passed an ordinance allowing police to simply ticket those caught with up to 15 grams of marijuana.
City Aldermen who were contacted about the bill said something had to be done to get officers back on the street stopping crime instead of siting in the station doing hours of paperwork for petty crime. The vote was 43 in favor and 3 opposed and it allows for ticketing of up to $500 for simple possession.
City Aldermen, although approving the bill overwhelmingly, were still in the heat of debate two hours before the vote on the issue. They were afraid that they may be sending the wrong message on drug use. But in the end, common sense prevailed.
Alderman Will Burns said before the council voted,
“The calls I get at 2 o’clock in the morning are not about marijuana possession, they’re about someone who’s been shot in my ward. I want those calls to cease and the way we do that is to make sure our police are fighting violent crime.”
Alderman Edward Burke, a former police officer, while concerned about the bill said he was concerned that in such a big city more than 15,000 black youth are arrested each year for simple marijuana possession while less than 1,000 white kids are. He said,
“The system is broken but just as I don’t want to send the wrong message to kids, I also don’t want it to be the case (that African-Americans) are going to be 16 times more likely to get locked up in the city of Chicago than some kid” from predominantly white neighborhoods.”
Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who supported the bill, said the current system sent a far more dangerous message to children.
“I cannot think of a thing that’s more undermining to a message to a child than everybody knowing that 90 percent of the cases are thrown out,”