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The details of the mayor’s pot plan

DETAILS OF marijuana ordinance

The fine print of Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s proposed ordinance — which passed a City Council committee Thursday — to decriminalize possession of small amounts of marijuana:

◆ Tickets with fines ranging from $250 to $500 for anyone caught with 15 grams of pot or less, instead of facing a misdemeanor charge punishable by up to six months in jail and a $1,500 fine.

◆ Arrests of anyone caught “openly smoking” pot in Chicago — or in possession of pot on the grounds of a school or a park — would continue.

◆ Those under 17 and anyone without “proper identification” also would face arrest.

◆ After writing a marijuana ticket, police officers would seize the drugs, go directly to the district station and conduct a “field test.” If the drugs tested positive, the officer would sign an affidavit, inventory the cannabis, then return to the street.

◆ Ticketed offenders will have seven days to either pay the fine or request an administrative hearing. Failure to show at a hearing results in default judgment with a $500 fine.

◆ City hearing officers will have the option of ordering community service and drug education classes as a component of any penalty.

◆ Police will keep detailed records of ticketing and arrests for small pot busts to ease fears about racial profiling.

Fran Spielman



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