Decriminalization 2.0 in Illinois

Photo via Flickr user Patrick Emerson

By Joan Eberhardt


A New Decriminalization Bill in Illinois

Another bill to decriminalize possession of small amounts of cannabis in Illinois would replace current criminal penalties with smaller civil fines.

The bill, introduced by State Rep. Kelly Cassidy, is a tougher version of one that passed both the House and Senate last year, but was vetoed by Gov. Bruce Rauner for being too light.

HB 4357 would make possession of up to 10 grams of marijuana a civil violation, punishable by a $200 fine. The previous bill would have made possession of up to 15  grams a civil violation with a $175.

Regardless of Rauner’s political postulating, if passed, adults would no longer see jail time, and the civil offense would be automatically expunged in order to prevent a criminal record. Undoubtedly, that is a step in the right direction.

Cassidy appeared at a news conference to announce the legislation, with 50 members of Illinois clergy along to voice their support for the bill.

“When members of our communities are saddled with criminal records for possession, it hurts future job, housing, and educational prospects. Individuals become ‘marked for life,’” Rev. Alexander E. Sharp, executive director of Clergy for a New Drug Policy told TheWeedBlog. “We know from experience here and across the country that harsh marijuana penalties don’t deter use — they just hurt our communities when individuals’ lives are harmed from life-altering criminal records.”

States With Legal Cannabis Less Obesity

It’s probably because kids drink less booze and everyone takes more hikes, but states with legal cannabis see fewer problems associated with obesity.

A study published in Health Economics this month shows that states with medical marijuana laws saw between a 2-6% reduction in the probability of obesity, and a $58-115 per-person annual reduction in medical costs.

The study, using data from all states that enacted marijuana laws between 1990 and 2000, reported that older individuals saw more mobility and younger individuals reported drinking less alcohol.

Man Fined $1.30 For His 30 Illegal Plants

In a largely symbolic sentencing, a Canadian judge fined a man one dollar and thirty cents for possession of 30 cannabis plants.

Mario Larouche was ordered to pay the fine by Judge Pierre Chevalier in a Quebec court. The judge’s ruling reflects newly-elected Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s stated plan to create a nationwide legal market.

“We are in a society where people are accused of possession and use of marijuana while more than half the population has already consumed. These are laws that are obsolete and ridiculous. When one is in the presence of laws which would have more than half of the population has a criminal record in Canada,” Chevalier said when issuing the ruling.

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