Thursday, September 8, 2011

Cook County Expands Tickets For Low Level Drug Offenses

Yesterday, the Cook County Board took a big step in an effort to decriminalize the possession of small amounts of marijuana. In 2009 the Cook County Board passed an ordinance which provided for the issuance of tickets for the possession of small amounts of marijuana. But recently, various news outlets reported that zero tickets had been issued. The 2009 measure only applied to unincorporated areas of Cook County that were being patrolled by the Cook County Sheriff. The new measure includes areas in which the Cook County Sheriff provides primary law enforcement duties, such as south suburban Ford Heights. The Cook County Sheriff's office now reports that they are ready to write tickets for the possession of less than 10 grams of marijuana pursuant to the measure passes yesterday by the Cook County Board. The President of the Cook County Board, Tony Perwinkle, has come out strong in favor of decriminalizing the possession of small amounts of marijuana. She points to the high cost of keeping offenders in jail until they go to their preliminary hearing, where most such cases are dismissed anyway. It costs about $143 a day to keep an inmate in Cook County Jail. Perwinkle has stated that she will help lead an effort to have the Illinois legislature pass a similar measure throughout the State of Illinois.

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