McCarthy: Tickets For Pot Possession Possible

CHICAGO (STMW) — Those possessing small amounts of marijuana in Chicago may face citations or tickets instead of the county jail, Police Supt. Garry McCarthy said Saturday.

After an anti-violence march in the Austin neighborhood, McCarthy said he discussed the issue with both Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, who supports diverting low-level drug offenders from jail, and Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

“When you cast the net you’re going to get tuna and you’re going to get dolphin,” McCarthy said. “You don’t want to get the wrong people and put them in the system.”

Those with small amounts of marijuana shouldn’t expect less heat from Chicago Police if such a policy is implemented, McCarthy said.

“We’re looking at different arrest processing, not not making the arrests,” he said.

McCarthy added that those with outstanding warrants or involved in more serious crimes would still be processed through the Cook County Jail.

Earlier this week, Preckwinkle said she had asked McCarthy to consider halting low-level marijuana arrests. She said judges often drop the cases, but not before the county pays to incarcerate those arrested at $142 a day.

McCarthy said Saturday that while he is open to the idea of ticketing some people for possessing small amounts of marijuana, the idea was still in development and not a done deal.

McCarthy’s comments came after he, Emanuel and Ald. Deborah Graham (29th) led about 100 people Saturday in a West Side march that ended in the 200 block of South Lotus with hot dogs for the participants.

“I love stuff like this,” McCarthy said. “You get the feel, the sense of the community.”

Also at the rally was Ronald Holt, director of the Chicago Alternative Policing Strategy program, whose 16-year-old son, Blair, was shot to death on a CTA bus on his way home from school in 2007.

Holt said he has been to hundreds of rallies, and he thinks they do have an impact.

“It sends a collective message to the community,” he said.

(Source: Sun-Times Media Wire © Chicago Sun-Times 2010. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

  • Tim

    Hey, what a smart idea! Not wasting the taxpayer dollar to put non-violent offenders in jail while generating revenue through tickets. Why didn’t anyone think of that sooner!!

    • James Gierach

      The idea is not new; it was proposed by a Chicago Police officer about three years ago and Ald. Carrothers, then chairman of the Chicago City Coucil Police and Fire Committee deep-sixed the idea, although the Cook County Board then passed a “pot ticket” ordinance but not one ticket has been issued since passage, becaue Sheriff Tom Dart has problems with some of the ordinance language. Maybe finally pot tickets will get lit.

  • dennis

    this would be GREAT! $500.00 per ticket………………………………………………..
    give the county a cut & keep the rest since the mayor & cook county president seam to be on the same page………….
    every little bit will help…………

  • 1223

    I cannot understand how a pair of parents that both hold well paying city jobs would put their child in a low performing, unsafe public school. I may be blind but I just don’t see it. How much will the tickets be? It sounds like a good idea

  • Somkey Kielbasa

    Hey McCarthy,you need to give yourself a ticket for being a clueless shamrock police chief,a couple of weeks ago you came home after a police incident that involve guns and a shooting so you turn a tv show on about Sarah Palin played pocket pool with yourself and when you were done,you came back out and blamed Palin for the incident,what a dumb irishman.

  • Disgusted

    Tickets for pot possession? Schaumburg tickets for shoplifting. Maybe they could give tickets for minor beatings or home invasions that only reaped less than $500. How about a ticket for armed robbery where they didn’t actually shoot anyone. Bring in those dollars Chicago, anyway you can. Show our children in school what the consequences are for crime…you get a ticket.

  • Quinn Expresses Doubt About Ending Some Marijuana Arrests « CBS Chicago

    […] Police Supt. Garry McCarthy has told WBBM Newsradio 780 Political Editor Craig Dellimore that he is considering the possibility of police issuing tickets, instead of making arrests, for low-leve… […]

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