Chicago Decriminalizes Having Small Marijuana Amounts
Supporters say the measure will help save the city money and free up police.
The city of Chicago voted today in a margin of 43 to 3 to decriminalize the possession of small amounts of marijuana, according to Reuters.
Chicago becomes the latest U.S. city to support diminished penalties for the drug's use.
The vote, backed by Mayor Rahm Emanuel, will only call on police to issue a written violation for possession of 15 grams or less of the drug rather than make an arrest.
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Supporters said the measure would help raise revenue for the city, save money and free up police to pursue more serious crimes.
But council member Roberto Maldonado, an opponent, said people will interpret the law as "a license to smoke marijuana in public."
Chicago Police Department statistics indicate that last year there were 18,298 arrests for possession of less than 10 grams of marijuana, according to a statement from the mayor's office.