Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Reason #223: Tickets

According to Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel's office, last year Chicago made 18,298 arrests for possession of less than ten grams of pot, consuming more than 45 thousand of the police department's man-hours.

Well, no more! Starting August 4th, a new ordinance will go into effect that doesn't exactly decriminalize marijuana, but downgrades it from an arrestable offense to a ticketable offense if the person possesses less than fifteen grams (which, let's be honest, is still a decent amount of pot).

While I'd still prefer outright decriminalization, I have to admit that this is a very good step in that direction, if not an alternative. It still speaks to the taxation argument (increased revenue for the city) while emulating to a substantial degree the lightened police workload that would follow actual decriminalization.

One of the ordinance's opponents, Roberto Maldonado, inadvertently makes perhaps the best point about this. According to this article, "...he doesn't want his kids growing up thinking marijuana use is as bad as running a stop sign."

You are absolutely correct, Alderman Maldonado. Marijuana use is far, far less bad than running a stop sign.  I would love to see statistics on which of the two kills more people.

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