Illinois passes Marijuana decriminalization bill

Marijuana, less than 10 grams, will soon be decriminalized in Illinois once the bill is signed by the Governor.

By Bronte Price, PoliticKING

The Illinois Senate voted on Tuesday in favor of a bill that would decriminalize minor marijuana possession. Under the new legislation, Senate Bill 2228, anyone caught holding 10 grams of marijuana or less would be issued a ticket with a fine ranging between $100-$200. The bill also comes with a provision that eliminates the state’s current zero-tolerance policy for stoned driving.

The bill’s primary sponsor, Senator Heather Steans said in a statement, “We need to replace Illinois’s current patchwork of marijuana possession laws with a consistent standard that will be applied fairly across the state.” She added, “People should not be sent to jail for an offense that would have been punishable by a small fine if it had occurred a few miles down the road. It’s irrational, it’s unpredictable, and it’s unjust.”

According to High Times, as long as the House doesn’t dispute the measure in its current form, which is not likely, the bill should end up on the governor’s desk by May.

“Illinois spends way too much money imposing costly criminal penalties on people who are found in possession of a personal amount of marijuana,” said Chris Lindsey of the Marijuana Policy Project.

“Serious penalties should be reserved for people who commit serious crimes, not used to punish marijuana consumers. Nobody should face a lifelong criminal record simply for possessing a substance that is less harmful than alcohol.”

Earlier last month, Catherine Kelly, a spokesperson for Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner told reporters, "We are encouraged to see the General Assembly on a path to accept the governor's changes, and will continue monitoring the legislation as it moves forward.” The proposal will now moves to the House of Representatives for consideration.

Here’s what Jesse Ventura thinks about sentencing for pot dealers:

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