Cook County Extends Pot Decriminalization

On behalf of Law Office of Steven Haney posted in Drug Possession on Thursday, September 22, 2011

A recent vote by the Cook County Board has expanded marijuana decriminalization to everywhere in Cook County that the Sheriff’s police patrol. Basically, the law states that anyone arrested for possession of 10 grams or less of marijuana will be simply issued a ticket instead of arrested.

Update to Past Law

There was already a law in place that applied to anyone in possession of 10 grams or less of marijuana, but only in unincorporated Cook County. That particular version of the law has been in effect for two years; however Sheriff Tom Dart did not enforce it since it did not cover all areas patrolled by the Sheriff’s police, such as the suburb of Ford Heights. Since it wasn’t binding everywhere the Sheriff’s police patrolled, there was no countywide policy to follow – but after the change a countywide law is now exactly what is in effect.

One Board member stated that they believe the change was needed since it is better for low-level drug offenders to deal with their addictions instead of simply incarcerating them. Moreover, the same Board member said she will work to see that a similar law is passed state-wide in Springfield.

Not in Effect in Chicago or Neighboring Counties

It is important to note that this expanded law does not cover Chicago since it is patrolled by its own police. However, Chicago Police Supt. Gary McCarthy has stated he supports a similar policy for Chicago.

In addition, this new policy is specific to Cook County, and does not extend to nearby areas such as Will County or Kendall County. Since policies can change from one county to the next, it is important to contact an experienced criminal defense attorney in your area to be advised of your rights and options if you have been arrested for marijuana possession.

Source: Cook County Expands Law To Issue Tickets For Small-Time Pot Busts