CHICAGO (CBS) — Mayor Rahm Emanuel has called on state lawmakers to ease up on penalties for small-time drug possession cases, even though the city’s own effort to issue tickets for marijuana possession – rather than arrest suspects – has largely fizzled.

WBBM Newsradio’s John Cody reports the mayor on Tuesday recommended the state reduce the penalty for possessing less than a gram of any illegal drug from a felony charge to a misdemeanor.

READ MORE: Chicago Bears Reportedly Expected To Sign Chiefs Exec Ryan Poles As New GM

“That will change not just the criminal justice system, not just the police time so you’ll save time and money, but it will also change that individuals’ lives. Somebody walking around with a felony, their employment prospects, their job prospects, their lives are on a different trajectory than if they had a misdemeanor associated with them,” the mayor said.

At a hearing of the Illinois Joint Criminal Justice Reform Committee, Emanuel also recommended lawmakers change Illinois law to follow Chicago law and decriminalize possession of less than 15 grams of marijuana, by making it a ticketable offense statewide.

However, a study earlier this year revealed the vast majority of misdemeanor marijuana violations still result in arrests in Chicago.

Researchers at Roosevelt University spent more than a year studying marijuana arrests across the state, and found 93 percent of marijuana violations in Chicago resulted in arrests, with only 7 percent of suspects ticketed.

READ MORE: No States Coming Off Chicago Travel Advisory This Next Week Or Next Week

Another part of this study showed that blacks and whites used marijuana similarly, but blacks were 7 times more likely to be arrested.

At the time the results of the study were released in May, a spokesperson for the Chicago police department said, after the marijuana ticket ordinance was passed in August 2012, some districts implemented the new law better than others. Supt. Garry McCarthy said the city’s done better since the ordinance passed but that the department will try to change the law “so our officers can focus on illegal guns and reducing violent crime.”

The mayor said more lenient drug penalties would free up government and social service resources.

“On everything from police to prisons to the criminal justice system and the courtroom itself,” he said.

Emanuel said 7,000 annual arrests for small-time drug possession are expensive.

MORE NEWS: Uber Driver Shot On Eisenhower Expressway

“Each person held in the Cook County Jail costs taxpayers around $143 per day; and despite the expense in time and money, less than 10 percent of low-level narcotic cases result in guilty verdicts,” he said.