Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel Wants to Decriminalize Pot

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel (D) said Friday he backed a city council proposal to decriminalize the possession of small amounts of marijuana. The council is set to vote later this month on an ordinance that would decriminalize the possession of up to 15 grams of pot.

Fifteen states, including Rhode Island, whose governor signed a decriminalization bill into law Tuesday, have decriminalized the possession of small amounts of marijuana, as have several large American cities.

Chicago police arrested more than 18,000 people on small-time (less than 10 grams) marijuana possession charges last year. Each arrest involves about four officers — two to arrest and two to transport — said a statement from the mayor’s office.

“These arrests tied up more than 45,000 police hours,” Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy said in the mayor’s office statement. “The new ordinance nearly cuts that time in half, which equals an approximate $1 million in savings, while freeing up cops to address more serious crime.”

Under existing law, people caught with small amounts of marijuana face up to six months in jail. If the ordinance is approved, they would face only a citation and the loss of their weed.

– Read the entire article at AlterNet.