Chicago Lawmaker Proposes Decriminalization of Marijuana; Police Worry


Taylorville - In some states, it's a cash cow for revenue, but in Illinois, police see marijuana as a gateway to many problems.

"A lot of the people that are in here, I'd say that about 95% of the people that are in my county jail are in here because of alcohol or drug abuse," said Christian County sheriff Bruce Kettelkamp.

Chicago state representative Kelly Cassidy is revisiting efforts to decriminalize small amounts of marijuana.

Previously, she sponsored legislation that would decriminalize marijuana under 15 grams before being vetoed by the governor.

Under new legislation amounts of marijuana under 10 grams would no longer lead to jail time, but a fine between $100 and $200.

"And I think that's just a disaster for our state," added Kettelkamp.

Kettelkamp said that he's worried that by decriminalizing small amounts of marijuana this could be the first step for the state to legalize marijuana, joining Colorado and Washington.  He also said by doing that there could be unforeseen circumstances.

"The studies have shown that the fatal automobile crashes have increased since the legalization of marijuana there in Colorado.  I think it's going to cost us more in the long run than save us, than the savings we're going to get from the state," he added.

Twenty states, as well as Washington D.C. have already removed the possibility of jail time for simple possession of marijuana.

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