Emanuel Pot Ticket Plan Gets Past Committee
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Emanuel Pot Ticket Plan Gets Past Committee
Posted by CN Staff on June 22, 2012 at 05:04:58 PT
By Hal Dardick and John Byrne, Tribune Reporters
Source: Chicago Tribune 
Chicago -- Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s plan to issue tickets rather than make arrests for possession of small amounts of marijuana was advanced by a panel of aldermen today following a buzz saw of skepticism, setting the stage for final approval at next week’s City Council meeting.Aldermen questioned the message that the mayor’s ordinance would send to youth, whether it would increase demand for drugs and whether it would rack up revenue at the expense of poor and minority residents. All those questions came during a three-hour hearing of the Public Safety Committee, which voted to endorse the measure.
Despite all the questions, aldermen voted 13-1 to send the measure to the full council, which meets next Wednesday.The committee recommended approval after the proposal was amended to allow for drug education and community service to be required along with a ticket. Another change disallowed the use of tickets on school and park grounds.“I’m actually a little taken aback by this,” said Ald. Jason Ervin, 28th. “As you know, my ward on the West Side of Chicago has been Dope Central for the last 30 years, and to talk about an effort to not arrest, an effort to change the paradigm on how we deal with the selling of narcotics, is troubling.”But both Ald. Daniel Solis, 25th, the ordinance’s main sponsor, and police Superintendent Garry McCarthy, made it clear that their intent is not to be soft on drug use. It's to make sure people caught with small amounts of pot actually pay a penalty and cops get more time to address more serious crime.Like Emanuel, they Solis and McCarthy went so far as to deny they were decriminalizing pot possession, even though the ordinance would make possession of less 15 grams or less of marijuana in most cases would result in a ticket, and a fine of between $250 and $500, instead of an arrest on misdemeanor criminal charges.“We are not talking about decriminalization,” McCarthy said, adding that the vast majority of charges filed against about 20,000 people arrested in the city each year for possession of small amounts of marijuana are dropped. “We are talking about actually holding people accountable for the offense. This ordinance will now allow our officers to remain on the streets and focus on fighting gangs and keeping our communities safe.”McCarthy said people caught smoking pot would still be arrested, as would those toting small amounts in parks or on school property. The city also plans to arrest anyone under 17.Solis noted that he’s the father of an 11-year-old son. “This is not about decriminalizing,” he said. “This is not about saying this is OK. This is not about saying that marijuana is no big deal. Absolutely, positively not.”Processing a ticket will take a half hour, compared to four hours for an arrest, McCarthy said. “I know we are going to have these police officers in these violent neighborhoods and hopefully (the extra hours on the street) will be helping to save lives of young men and women like my son,” Solis said.Advocates of ticketing pot possession, including Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, have noted that arrests for pot possession fall disproportionately on minority communities. Putting an end to those arrests, they argue, would remove a blot on their records that prevent them from getting jobs or decent housing.Ald. Anthony Beale, 9th, questioned whether the burden of pot fines would fall more heavily on those same minority communities.“If it's not about raising revenue, let's look at reducing these fines,” Beale said. “Because right now, out of the 18,298 we're arresting -- that we did last year -- out of that number, I guarantee you the majority of these people are poor families in our communities that can't afford a $250 to $500 fine.”He added: “And if they go to an administrative hearing and can't afford to pay, it doubles. That's hurting poor people. That's hurting poor people.” Source: Chicago Tribune (IL)Author: Hal Dardick and John Byrne, Tribune ReportersPublished: June 21, 2012Copyright: 2012 Chicago Tribune CompanyWebsite: -- Cannabis Archives 
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Comment #15 posted by greenmed on June 23, 2012 at 17:27:20 PT
I appreciated Mr. Polis' line and manner of questioning. He seemed determined to stay on focus as Ms. Leonhart dodged and weaved, and was able to do so in civil fashion. That seems rare these days.counsel to bring back civility to congress
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Comment #14 posted by greenmed on June 23, 2012 at 12:17:44 PT
There it is-- another instance of a family traumatized. Would this have been news if the address was not wrong due to a "clerical error?" Are these "clerical errors" so common, or are trauma-tactics acceptable practice (so long as the troopers storm the right home)? There was a time, I remember, when these invasion tactics were rarely used, against the likes of the ten-most-wanted. Now they seem routine, so routine the paperwork gets sloppy. They should be stopped. There are other ways.
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Comment #13 posted by The GCW on June 23, 2012 at 11:13:23 PT
Thanks for the post #1.Jared Polis is My Congressman and I think He is a very good one.
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Comment #12 posted by Hope on June 23, 2012 at 11:02:20 PT
Prohibitionists protecting children.
Ninth Circuit to DEA: Putting a Gun to an 11-Year-Old's Head Is Not OK's more in the article about other cases. One where an agent pointed a weapon at an infant's head.
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Comment #11 posted by FoM on June 23, 2012 at 10:51:07 PT
I agree with you.
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Comment #10 posted by greenmed on June 23, 2012 at 10:48:43 PT
Rhetorical questions aside, to change the hearts and minds of governmental public officials/servants requires at least some contact with patients that cannabis helps (the "enemy" in the war on medical cannabis). The hypothetical posed by Mr. Cohen triggered the "issue of medical marijuana should be between physician and patient" slip-up, but by her own admission Ms. Leonhart has never bothered to meet a patient whom cannabis helps. Often it seems that those who speak out or vote their conscience with the 80% have had an ill family member or close aquaintance whose experience with cannabis has changed their minds.
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Comment #9 posted by greenmed on June 23, 2012 at 09:59:39 PT
If we get it, do you suppose our representatives get it too? Even with the polls showing strong support for reform, they ignore our issue as "unimportant." How can they hold these two conflicting ideas in their heads at the same time? How can they ignore the harm and suffering they bring on us?
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Comment #8 posted by FoM on June 23, 2012 at 09:17:51 PT
I think almost everyone involved in reform believes what we believe.
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Comment #7 posted by greenmed on June 23, 2012 at 09:15:06 PT
I agree with you... I believe that may be an unintended consequence (opportunity) of prohibition that Big Pharm is eager to exploit further. Given the wide range of health benefits and medical indications for cannabis, prohibition provides a potential windfall of profit for corporations. All while an eager-to-grow plant like cannabis can be tended in a home garden at little to no cost. It is such a farce!It is shameful that prohibition and the suffering it sows all rests upon the heads of 435 individuals most of whom are fearful of truly representing their constituents who are consistently for cannabis policy change >80%.
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Comment #6 posted by FoM on June 23, 2012 at 08:37:31 PT
I somethings think they are stalling so we get some pharmaceutical available that no one will be able to afford.
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Comment #5 posted by greenmed on June 23, 2012 at 07:16:05 PT
I doubt anything she slipped up on will change DEA policy. It's clear from her tone that Ms. Leonhart will cling steadfastly to failed cannabis prohibition policy. Her biggest "slip up" I thought was that she managed to throw back the fact that DEA is just enforcing what Congress has already decided (and what she is paid to enforce unthinkingly)-- I say good for her on that. A rational discussion on drug policy is long overdue in Congress, which ultimately has the power to reschedule a plant(!).Mr. Obama should consider replacing Ms. Leonhart with a "prioritizer" as Mr. Polis describes. That would at least limit the amount of collateral damage the war on cannabis has wrought and continues to wring(sic?).
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Comment #4 posted by FoM on June 23, 2012 at 05:19:26 PT
That is good they got that out of her but what does it mean? Will they be able to push her and the DEA to Reschedule now I hope.
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Comment #3 posted by greenmed on June 22, 2012 at 21:26:10 PT
DEA Chief Administrator Slips Up,
Says Medical Marijuana Is Between Patients and Their Doctors.
Huffington Post article (too long url)
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Comment #2 posted by FoM on June 22, 2012 at 15:14:12 PT
California Mayor Allegedly Took MMJ Bribes
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Comment #1 posted by FoM on June 22, 2012 at 09:56:43 PT
DEA Chief Deflects Pols’ Pot Questions
June 21, 2012Two Democratic congressmen who support medical marijuana pursued almost identical lines of questioning of the head of the Drug Enforcement Administration on Wednesday — and ran into identical stone walls. 
Reps. Jared Polis and Steve Cohen grilled Michele Leonhart about the dangers of marijuana relative to other illegal drugs, such as heroin and methamphetamine, during a Judiciary Subcommittee hearing. The DEA administrator only frustrated their efforts. “Is crack worse for a person than marijuana?” Polis asked. 
“I believe all illegal drugs are bad,” Leonhart replied. 
“Is methamphetamine worse for somebody’s health than marijuana?”
 “I don’t think any illegal drug is good.” 
“Is heroin worse for someone’s health than marijuana?” 
“Again, all drugs…” 
“It’s either ‘yes,’ ‘no,’ or ‘I don’t know.’”
 The scene was scarcely different with Cohen asking these questions.
 “Would you agree that marijuana causes less harm to individuals than meth, crack, cocaine, and heroin?” he asked.
 “As a former police officer, as a 32-year DEA agent, I can tell you that I think marijuana is an insidious drug,” Leonhart replied.
 “That’s not the question I asked you, ma’am. Does it cause less damage to the American society and to individuals than meth, crack cocaine and heroin? Does it make people have to kill to get their fix?”
 “I can tell you that more teens enter treatment for marijuana.” 
“Can you answer my question? Answer my question, please.”
 Neither congressman got the answer they wanted, apparently, before their respective times expired.Read more:
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