There are far too many young black men in prison for marijuana possession and related offenses, and the city of Chicago has decided to do something about it.
Yesterday the Chicago City Council voted 43-3 to approve a new city policy that would allow officers to give tickets to pot smokers instead of arresting them.
The new ordinance gives police the option to issue a ticket for possession of 15 grams of marijuana or less. Arrests would still be made however for anyone caught smoking weed in public or possessing marijuana in or near a school or in or near a park.
Although the City Council overwhelmingly approved this new ordinance there are a lot of mixed feelings about the ruling that goes into effect August 4th.
Supporters of the ordinance, including Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, said issuing tickets frees up cops for more serious crime and ultimately will save the police department about $1 million. The mayor's office noted that over 45,000 police hours were used last year in 18,298 arrests for possession of less than 10 grams of cannabis. Each case needed four officers to arrest and transport offenders, according to police statistics.
Proponents also cite city estimates that say the new marijuana tickets will generate about $7 million in additional revenue for the city.
Detractors of the ordinance say that the law does nothing to stop the illegal sale of marijuana, does not curb gang violence and sends a bad message to kids.
What do you think? Is this law a good idea?
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