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Number Of Marijuana Related Arrests In Chicago Still Too High


chicago marijuanaBy Alizeh Siddiqui

According to DNAinfo Chicago, the percentage of people fined for the possession of marijuana in Chicago has greatly increased over the past year. However, an activist group is questioning why more than 60 percent of those found in possession of marijuana are still arrested.

The national coordinator for Black Youth Project 100, Charlene Carruthers, says that Chicago Police Supt. Garry McCarthy “has said over and over again we should be ticketing, not arresting, but it still happens.”

Yesterday at Chicago City Hall, Carruthers cited figures demonstrating that the city spends $80 million a year processing marijuana arrests, despite the fact that both McCarthy and Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s proclaimed reforms intended to replace marijuana arrests with revenue-producing ticket citations.

Additionally, building on reports published in the Chicago Reader, Roosevelt University issued a study earlier this year demonstrating that arrest rates were too high and that Chicago was among the areas not making sufficient use of the reform legislation.

Carruthers stated that those arrested rather than ticketed were “primarily black Chicagoans,” adding, “It’s absolutely an unjust and racially biased policy…and it doesn’t keep us safer.”

The racial disparity demonstrated in marijuana arrest rates drove Carruthers to push for a meeting with McCarthy. McCarthy has yet to respond.

Source: Marijuana Policy Project - make a donation


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  1. HmmmSaysDavidHume on

    Colorado has a population of a touch over 5 million. Through August they have collected a total of just under $14 million in marijuana taxes. And this, while combined medical and recreational sales totaled $59.6 million.

    Chicago metro has over 9 million people, and the city of Chicago alone spends $80 million chasing and arresting mostly black and brown people.

    With America’s single worst bond rating, Illinois leads the nation in underfunded pension liabilities. Chicago has one of the worst public school systems in the nation.

    And Rahm Emanuel doesn’t think legalization makes sense.

  2. The quickest path to compliance would be to give the officers a few days off with no pay and watch compliance climb to 100% very rapidly.

  3. mark_lee481 BSHA on

    I agree that the officers are making every attempt at generating arrest income while they can. Many people sentenced to five years rarely make it out of the Cook County Jail. The peaceful offender will likely be placed into a trustee population that does the work that should be hired done, not paid as time off a sentence. There are those who have served more than their appointed time at Cook County because someone ‘lost’ them. They cannot make trustees out of violent criminals, so they will certainly make arrests. When it goes medical I would never forget my card. I thought about Illinois, but Chicago was the last city on my mind.

  4. The only way this kind of arrest will ever stop is to legalize marijuana. Marijauna use should not be used to generate money for our courts.

  5. I would be interested in knowing at what point during an officers shift would he/she be more inclined to arrest as opposed to issuing a ticket. My guess is the closer he/she is to the end of a shift an arrest would be made since this would probably result in overtime. I think it all comes down to money.

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