Senate committee approves marijuana fine legislation

SPRINGFIELD - Legislation that would make the possession of small amounts of marijuana punishable by a fine has been approved by an Illinois Senate committee.

Officials say Senate criminal law committee members passed the measure in a 9-3 vote on Wednesday.  The legislation's sponsor, State Representative Kelly Cassidy, says it would help prevent discrimination of enforcement based on race.  The bill passed the Illinois House last week.

Under current Illinois law, possession of marijuana is treated as a misdemeanor unless there's an ordinance in the municipality that allows police to issue a ticket instead.  However, the proposed change would make the possession of 15 grams or less of marijuana punishable by a $55-$125 fine.

The bill now moves to the full Senate for consideration.
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