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Illinois: Senate Approves Marijuana Decriminalization Bill

Illinois weed.jpg

By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

The Illinois Senate voted Tuesday 40 to 14 in favor of a bill that would decriminalize simple possession of marijuana, replacing a punishment of jail time with a small fine.

“We need to replace Illinois’s current patchwork of marijuana possession laws with a consistent standard that will be applied fairly across the state,” Senator Heather Steans, the bill’s primary sponsor, told HIGH TIMES in an e-mailed statement. “People should not be sent to jail for an offense that would have been punishable by a small fine if it had occurred a few miles down the road. It’s irrational, it’s unpredictable, and it’s unjust.”

Senate Bill 2228 introduces legislation that will impose a fine of $100-$200 on anyone caught with 10 grams of marijuana or less.Currently, any person caught with 10 grams of pot can be arrested and charged with a criminal misdemeanor punishable by up to six months in jail and a $1,500 fine.

In addition, the bill comes with a provision that eliminates the state's zero-tolerance policy for stoned driving. Under current law, a person is at risk of getting a DUI for any amount of THC in the blood, even if it is residual from use days before.

The new bill establishes a legal limit of 5 nanograms of THC per milliliter of blood or 10 nanograms of THC in saliva.

Illinois: House Approves Bill To Decriminalize Marijuana Possession

DecriminalizeMarijuana!

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

The Illinois House on Thursday approved a decriminalization measure under which possession of small amounts of marijuana would result in a fine instead of arrest.

Minor cannabis possession would go from a crime with up to a year in jail and fines of up to $2,500 to become more like a traffic ticket, with no court time and a fine maxing out at $125, reports Jessie Hellmann at the Chicago Tribune.

House Bill 218 would apply to people caught with 15 grams or less of marijuana, just over half an ounce.

The legislation would create a uniform penalty throughout the state, and eliminate the option for police to arrest people carrying small amounts of cannabis, according to sponsor Rep. Kelly Cassidy (D-Chicago).

"We currently have a patchwork of local ordinances where there is the possibility of getting a ticket but not a given that you'll get a ticket, so it's an open question where you go whether you're going to get arrested or get a ticket," Rep. Cassidy said.

"That creates a system whereby it depends on where you live, and what you look like, and unfortunately more often than not, it is folks who are black and brown who are being arrested, who are being pulled off the streets, pulled away from their jobs and their families and put into our jails and prisons," she said.

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