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Alderman Proposes Ending Jail Sentence for Possession


July 1994

In March, Chicago City Alderman William Beavers, a former police officer, introduced a measure that would decriminalize possession of up to 2.5 grams of marijuana. Instead of the current sentence of up to 30 days in jail and a $500 dollar fine, offenders could be fined $250 dollars rather than go through court and have a drug arrest on their record.

Mayor Richard Daley doesn't think the idea will work. "I was a prosecutor," the Mayor said. "They won't pay $250. You'd rather get a piece of paper rather than pay $250. The courts give you a probation, they don't give you a fine." (John Kass, "Alderman moves to further decriminalize smoking of Marijuana", Chicago Tribune, 3/3/94, Section 2).

Alderman Beavers told NewsBriefs on June 22, that he has doubts about the measure's chance of passage. He said that even though many support the measure in private, since this is an election year, few are willing to come out publicly for it.

[If you wish to express your view on Alderman Beaver's measure, calls can be made to his office at 312-744-6833]