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News Link • Drug War

Rahm Emanuel Backs Pot Tickets Over Arrests

• http://www.nbcchicago.com, By Lisa Balde

The Chicago mayor on Friday plans to back a proposed ordinance that reduces the penalty for possessing small amounts of marijuana within city limits. Emanuel said the change could free up cops for more serious crime and save the department about $1 million.

If the City Council agrees, cops can issue pot tickets instead of arrests for possession of 15 grams or less. Tickets would range from $100 to $500.

After the proposal was introduced last fall by Ald. Danny Solis, Emanuel said he did a little more research and concluded it's not a bad idea.

“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 Friday in a statement.

Until now, Emanuel has stayed out of the pot discussion. Top cop Garry McCarthy recently went on the record saying he's "not a fan" of decriminalizing marijuana but believes a happy medium can be found. Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle has said for months she'd consider a pot policy change.

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