Elgin council members open to decriminalzing marijuana

Elgin will take a serious look at decriminalizing the possession of small amounts of marijuana after city council members said Saturday they were amenable to the idea.

Councilwoman Tish Powell is proposing handling such cases under the city's administrative adjudication process, which means people would not get arrested but instead get a ticket and have to pay a fine.

The current punishment for misdemeanor marijuana possession is too harsh, Councilwoman Carol Rauschenberger said during a special committee of the whole meeting Saturday. "We're just being proactive with what's changing in America, and what's changing in our community."

Council members unanimously voted 8-0 to direct staff members to draft options about decriminalization. Councilman Toby Shaw was absent.

In Elgin, there were 1,400 marijuana arrests from 2011 to 2015, 83 percent comprising people under 30, and 42 percent of those comprising people under 20, Powell said.

Cook County has not been prosecuting...

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