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Chicago Police Might Soften On Mj.

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Chicago Police Might Soften Approach To MarijuanaPosted by CN Staff on July 30, 2011 at 17:43:30 PT

By John Byrne, Tribune Reporter

Source: Chicago Tribune


cannabisicon.gif Illinois -- In a potential shift in attitude, Chicago police may begin issuing citations to people caught with small amounts of marijuana instead of booking them and locking them up, Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy said Saturday.


The superintendent's remarks came after Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle highlighted last week how people arrested for possessing small quantities of drugs often clog up the system, only to have their cases later dismissed by judges.


McCarthy said he talked about the issue with Mayor Rahm Emanuel as far back as May. He insisted police will continue to arrest people for marijuana offenses, but said the arrestees might get a citation or a court summons, rather than being booked.


"We will continue to make arrests for illegal behavior, whether it's public urination or whether it's carrying a firearm. It's really that simple," McCarthy said after joining Emanuel and Ald. Deborah Graham, 29th, at an anti-violence march in the Austin neighborhood. "We're looking at different arrest processing, not not making the arrests."


Police officials are at this point considering changing only the marijuana policy, according to McCarthy. "It's not cooked yet," he said. "I think that people are going to see some changes down the road."


In any case, people caught with marijuana whom police suspect of more serious crimes or who have outstanding arrest warrants will continue to be processed, McCarthy said.


"If somebody's not properly identified, they can't receive a summons, and if they have a warrant, they can't receive a summons," the superintendent said. "So we want to make sure we're getting the right people. You don't want to get the wrong people and put them in the system."


McCarthy said he can't concern himself with whether judges tend to dismiss petty drug cases. But he wants officers to be able to handle such infractions expeditiously.


"My problem is figuring out the best way to get those things prosecuted in an efficient manner so that I can turn my cops back around and get them back on the street quickly," he said.


Source: Chicago Tribune (IL)

Author: John Byrne, Tribune Reporter

Published: July 31, 2011

Copyright: 2011 Chicago Tribune Company

Website: http://www.chicagotribune.com/

URL: http://drugsense.org/url/axaVDNcV

Contact: http://drugsense.org/url/DKtD0QMf


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