Chicago City Council Votes 43-2 To Decriminalize Small Amounts of Pot

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Chicago appears to be joining the ranks of cities across the US that have sought to decriminalize marijuana as a way of reducing costs. Other cities have done so to save money by fining the offenders, instead of arresting, charging, trying, and jailing those convicted of possessing small amounts of marijuana. Other cities that have done so, according to ThinkProgress, include Seattle, Pittsburgh, and Philadelphia.  This change appears to actually have the potential to prioduce quite a new revenue stream for the citites implementing this change ... one article mentioned the possibility that the proposed $250 fine in Chicago could result in $7 million in revenue per year.  

I'm sure the folks at the for-profit prison industry are not happy about this ... may i suggest something i think would make them feel better ? 





Bush_Wacker's picture
I would love to see this go

I would love to see this go nation wide.  It is totally ridiculous that having a plant from mother nature can be deemed illegal.  This move could save billions on one hand and create billions on the other.  All this fuss over a weed that's less harmful than alcohol.

TheFirstLeftist's picture
What is your opinion if the

What is your opinion if the feds overrule this law?

Bush_Wacker's picture
TheFirstLeftist wrote: What

TheFirstLeftist wrote:

What is your opinion if the feds overrule this law?

My opinion is that since it's an issue that doesn't affect the nation as a whole then the Feds have no right to overrule it and it should be decided by the SCOTUS to be legal if it comes to that.  Making something legal weighs differently than making something illegal as well in my opinion.  When something is legal to do that doesn't mean everyone will do it, but it does mean that everyone has a choice.  Making something illegal takes away any choice, if that makes any sense.

Decriminalization may be a

Decriminalization may be a path to eventual legalization, but they are not the same thing. I am in favor of decriminalization, because the chance of getting that approved as an interim are greater than the chance of jumping straight to legalization. I wrote a paper on this in the early 80's for a college public speaking class, and my opinion has not changed one bit.  Eventually, I would like to see legalization, but do not know if I will live that long.

The known beneficial medical effects of smoking marijuana were known then also, specifically how it helps chemo patients to overcome nausea and maintain some portion of their body weight that normally would be lost. A doctor that called in to Thom's show a few weeks ago contradicted the belief that smoking marijuana is good for glaucoma patients, so that part of it is in question.

I'd rather see jurisdictions fine non-medical marijuana users than arrest them and incur all of the associated expenses that go along with processing that legal case. NPR story estimated that Chicago could see $7 million in revenue from these fines per year, but did quantify the estimate of reduced expenses by turning this legal violation into a fine. I would like to see those numbers; I think I remember reading that Philadelphia would see a savings of $2 million per year because of the change in their law.

Marijuana ordinance adopted

Marijuana ordinance adopted by Kalamazoo City Commission 


If the feds "over-rule" the

If the feds "over-rule" the law, resist.  But, remember that the money invested in Weed Prohibition makes it necessary to demonstrate that we are just plain fed up and not going to go along with this crap anymore.  I am glad that we went beyond medical marijuana to home grow.  I think we are well on the way to making this a political winner.

DdC's picture
It's not about pot. It's

It's not about pot. It's about profits.

Orchestrated chaos and administrated education depravation isn't about saveding the kids from dope. Nixon lied, end of story in reality. The fact no one has even called for an investigation shows clearly why this prohibition exists. In the world of DEAland, paid to lie or manipulate facts to perpetuate the war. That is the bottom line the same as how GOP elects employees for office. End justifies the means. In the case of the Ganjawar. The end is to keep it going. Not zero tolerance and certainly not "legalizing" it. It's an entire cornucopia of profiteers maintaining good salaries making war on certain plants and their users. Not just the obvious bloated police budgets, forfeitures and confiscations. Or the rehabs at $4500.00 a month to cure you from what doesn't seem to be a problem other than getting caught. The Koch private for profit cages are all tax paid no brainers. Fringe benefits to the Wall St war absolutely even the Libertarians are afraid to mention. Internationally it provides a foot in the door of over 60 countries. Setting up and assisting their draconian drug wars. Without the benefit or even an illusion of a Constitutional right. Slave labor is cheap labor to big business, the same as outsourcing jobs.

The status quo fossil fools corporations, steel and plastics, paper and wood. Meat, Dairy and Fish all have stakes in maintaining this war. An entire infrastructure of materials not required for growing a few plants as booze and Big Pharma need. Cotton uses half of the poisons sprayed in the US. Not used on Hemp. No abortions the anti choice never talk about. Eliminate the need for OPEC imports or wars protecting the wells. Nixon's lie has permitted multi and international corporations to profit on making us sick. Then they sell us a monopoly of treatments in the form of white powders and injectable.  Until we eliminate Nixon's lie and remove cannabis from the Controlled Substance Act. Nothing can change. This is a story that will end according to the law of the land. Which once again for the well wishers and dreamers thinking any politician can change or legally not enforce a law. Obama didn't lie about not busting individuals using pot. He hasn't. But it has nothing to do with Obama. Or his compassion. He has no jurisdiction on individuals using a reasonable amount. That has been determined by the IND program establishing 12 joints a day. That is what they send the 4 remaining patients. Obama can not over ride the Supreme Court decision determining anything over a reasonable amount to be considered Commerce. Any quantity considered more than an individual would use is considered a potential exchange of goods. Even giving it away. This was settled in the Raich v Gonzales case. So any selling or exchange is not states rights or can Obama not enforce the laws as Commander in Chief.

Carter also decriminalized less than an ounce. But Raich is the most recent and the law of the land. So as much as buyers clubs make perfect sense, especially in capitalism central the us of a. It is not legal and the IRS and Treasury Dept will bust you, as they have been. Not Obama lying. Read his past debates and transcripts. None of the candidates said they would stop the war, only not bust individuals. They won't juggle chain-saws either if elected or not. They can't.

So this ordinance needs to go statewide and individuals will be as protected as they presently are in CA and Alaska. Because of the 10th amendment in a narrow sense covers individuals in states with laws protecting them. If the state law says medicinal then that is what is protected. Another sabotage bait and switch commonly used in the Ganjawar. I'd suspect they know and these maneuvers only perpetuate their own profit margins. Not why we elect them but seems no one is going to do anything since most rely on them for answers. CA is the Compassionate Use Act written to keep everybody out of jail, not just the sick people that no one believed would go to jail. We were mistaken. None the less Prop 215 covers anyone for any reason. In spite of the appeasers trying to tweak it and re-write it. In spite of local yokels trying to circumvent it with their own versions of how it is. Even in spite of the early years of flat out murder by Lungren and Wilson not following, let alone enforcing the law. Alaska has a Constitutional amendment allowing certain amounts. Might be challenged with the Feds standard of 12 a day.

Nixon's lie added Hemp and Medicinal cannabis to the CSA. Neither were prohibited under the Marijuana Tax Act. Over turned by Tim Leary in 1969 as being UnConstitutional to the 5th amendment of self incrimination protection. Nixon simply renamed the Act and lumped in two corporate competitions off the market shelves. This "ethics" is GOP SOP. But without the appeasers they couldn't go on. Without the denialists and censored school books and media. No one would dare stand with such obvious nonsense as spewed by the reefer madness crowd celebrating their 75th birthday keeping America polluted. Free the Weed and kill the Drug War commodity. Much of this uphill battle is caused by citizens willing to give up their own Liberty for an illusion of temporary safety from hobgoblins. Here is an example of those who believe my hemp blue jeans may lead someone to crack. Probably no problem going along with the reality that the majority of cannabis eradications are burlap and canvas wild unkept ditchweed. Yet these statistics garnish more funding from Congress. More Kyl type lies not meant to be factual.

High on Hemp

"Having reviewed all the material available to us we find ourselves in agreement with the conclusion reached by the Indian Hemp Drugs Commission appointed by the Government of India (1893-94) and the New York Mayor's Committee (1944 - LaGuardia) that the long-term consumption of cannabis in moderate doses has no harmful effects" "the long-asserted dangers of cannabis are exaggerated and that the related law is socially damaging, if not unworkable"

Why Do You Think They Call it DOPE?

The USA Merck Manual of Diagnosis and Therapy 1987
"Cannabis can be used on an episodic but continual basis without evidence of social or psychic dysfunction. In many users the term dependence with its obvious connotations, probably is mis-applied... The chief opposition to the drug rests on a moral and political, and not toxicologic, foundation".

The 'Virtues' of Ganja
The Politics of Pot

The Lancet, vol 352, number 9140, November 14 1998
"We.. say that on the medical evidence available, moderate indulgence in cannabis has little ill-effect on health, and that decisions to ban or legalise cannabis should be based on other considerations."

Deaths in the United States in a typical year are as follows:
* Tobacco kills about 400,000
* Alcohol kills about 80,000
* Workplace accidents kill 60,000
* Automobiles kill 40,000
* Cocaine kills about 2,500
* Heroin kills about 2,000
* Aspirin kills about 2,000
* Marijuana kills 0

Methinks Thou Dost Protest Too Much

Al Capone and Watergate were red herrings
to divert the countries attention from the
Fascist acts of eliminating competition.
Booze/Ethanol or Ganja//Hemp.

{this reply was first added

{this reply was first added to a post relating to the NRA and their response to the Newtown school murders ... some of the response relates to Chicago and this marijuana law change.}


While many of the high profile cases of mass murder by gun in the past 10 years or so were committed by someone with mental problems who had been prescribed anti- depressants or other meds, most of the average every day murders and shootings by gun do not.  More attention has been focused after Newtown on the mentally ill and their access to guns with high capacity clips and assault weapons, but less attention has been given to this daily carnage that does not get the headlines. 

Some of the attention focused on the mental problems common between the recent mass gun murderers actually is meant by the NRA and affiliated people and organizations to divert our eyes from the guns and the assault style weapons and magazines used in the attacks. Its basically an extension of the old "Guns don't kill people, people do" argument.  The gun lobby wants the spotlight to be aimed at the mental problems of the shooters and the lack of mental health care support, not on easy access to high capacity magazines and assault style weapons and guns in general.  

One of the NRA's versions of the Wizard of Oz quote "Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain" is "Pay no attention to the gun show behind the curtain", while another is simply "Pay no attention to the gun itself".   

Our laws and the medical system should be changed to enable families to get help for individuals such as these.  Gun laws should be modified to allow temporary confiscation of weapons from those undergoing certain mental health treatments such as these anti-depressants. If anything, this is an attempt to make it less likely the ill person will turn the guns on themselves or those around them.

In some of his remarks after Newtown, Obama listed some of the high profile mass shootings of the past few years as examples of why we can no longer continue with gun control laws as they are, and mentioned the street corners of Chicago.  That city, like Baltimore to a lesser extent, sees daily shootings that are often fatal, with many of those involving gangs and / or drug activity.  Marijuana decriminalization is a step in the direction of reducing these drug related incidents.  The Chicago city council voted earlier this year to decriminalize possession of small amounts of marijuana for personal use; 15 grams or less results in a city fine ranging from $250-500. (Chicago City Council Votes 43-2 To Decriminalize Small Amounts of Pot)   (Chicago OKs pot tickets

The change in the law was scheduled for August 4th, but the shootings continue. I'm not sure if the frequency has changed since then. Additional changes of allowing city residents to grow their own and possess amounts more than 15 grams might help to stem some of the pot related drug shootings.

Chicago Homicide Rate: Fatal Thursday Shooting Appears To Bring City To Murder Milestone


Medical marijuana vote now slated for January

News stories like this one

News stories like this one are another reason why medical marijuana laws are necessary, in Chicago as well as in Illinois:

Santa's helper nailed for medical marijuana stash

11/29/12 -  This article

11/29/12 - 

This article makes me think of the creative alibi's or excuses the smuggler's lawyer might come up with...

Police find $6.8 million in marijuana hidden in strawberries

harry ashburn
harry ashburn's picture
Just another brick in the

Just another brick in the wall..falls....  Members-Only Marijuana Clubs Open in Colorado

Meow Tse Tongue
Meow Tse Tongue's picture
The fundamental problem with

The fundamental problem with the concept of drug control is that most human beings, in all eras and cultures about which we know, have used and enjoyed drugs to modify their mood or state of mind. In the United States, foe example, there are nearly 200 million people over the age of 12, of which 178 million are caffeine users (89%), 106 million are alcohol users (53%), 57 million are nicotine users(28%), along with approximately 12 million marijuana users (6%), some 3 million cocaine users (1.5%), 2 million heroin users (1%), with about a million users (0.5%) each of the entheogens and non-ethanol solvents (according to the governments conservative data from a household survey; Goldstein & Kalant 1990). Not only are the numbers of illicit drug users greatly inferior to the numbers of users of legal psychoactive drugs (alcohol, nicotine, caffeine), but the scope of health problems associated with illicitversus licit drug use shows a similar disparity. Compared to the estimated three to four thousand deaths per year as a consequence of all illicit drug use combined, approximately 320,000 Americans die prematurely each year as a consequence of tobacco use, and they are accompanied to the graveyard by an additional 200,000 premature cadavers each year resulting from use of alcohol (Nadelmann 1989). Although there are approximately three times as many nicotine users in the United States as users of all illicit drugs combined, there are nearly 100 times as many deaths as a result; and although there are about five times as many alcohol users as illicit drug users, alcohol is responsible for some 50 times as many deaths. One might conclude that tobacco is some thirty times more dangerous than entheogens, marijuana, cocaine and heroin; and that alcohol is about ten times more dangerous... or one might claim that in time we will discover that additional premature deaths are in fact due to illicit drug use. Nevertheless, the disparity is striking, and it cannot be argued that illicit drugs are justifiably illegal because they are dangerous, as long as substances evidently much more dangerous are legal. Because something is dangerous does not justify illegalizing it, it any case. Whereas the comparatively benign psilocybine-containing mushrooms (see Chapter 5) are illegal, the deadly-poisonous amatoxin- and phallotoxin-containing Amanita and Galerina species are perfectly legal (Ott 1978b; Ott 1979b). Similarly, with regard to drug toxicity deaths, 70% are the result not of illicit drugs but of legal prescription drugs, of which it is said that 300 million doses per year are "abused" (Hollister et al. 1991.

(From Jonathan Ott's "Pharmacotheon")

Of course it's the money!

Of course it's the money!  But it's our money.  Our taxes in the War on Drugs go to some, as they do in all wars.  We do not get value back.  To get the claws of these parasites of our money, as with war, we have to demythologize the mission and the enemy to make the money an issue.

And this brings us back to Prohibition.  There was and is a real alcohol problem, and we have lots of images of drunken working men spending their pay on booze instead of milk for the kids.  Alcohol was integral to culture and life, including as a morning tonic.  It was treated as a curative substance, and it does have interesting tincture abilities.  However, in industrial America, alcohol was not a perfromance enhancing or "refresher" which would boost productivity.  It was also a homewrecker.

Why Americans fear other substances more than our legal duo of death is hard to explain, but I think it has to do with their 'attractions' more than their 'dangers.'  The idea that something might "blow our minds" attracts those seeking some form of transcendence, but it also could leave us "out of our minds."  Reefer Madness presents a very funny version of a pot party, but it is more like a fraternity alcohol bustup than mellow.  Pot still has reputational images of munchies and fuzzy 'thinking,' but I find the former to be more about relaxing inhibitions and doing what you really want to do and the latter to be untrue completely.  Musicians could not play like we do on weed.  We prove it when we try to do it on beer.

There are some legitimate issues of young brain development and it might be that it really is an "adult" substance for physical/biological reasons and not just because parents fear what their kids might do when stoned.  Nonetheless, there is now a strong cultural value to "sobriety."  It is an interesting concept, sobriety.  It can include all that coffee, all those prescription and otc drugs we take and empty calorie diets.  How "sober" are you when you have not eaten in eight hours?  How long at the screen and keyboard before you are "zoned out?"  But, if you don't ingest anything to stay awake, you are 'sober.'  Or is it when you have had that double espresso or ciggie that you are back in the game?

My point is that the Age of  Reason has given us an idealistic and romantic notion of rationality and sanity as sobriety.  We are supposed to be able to parse the world intellectually in this new vision of human beingness.  To do this, we need the cool objective information processor kept clean and pure of distorting substances.  Hah!  WTF do we think our brains are made of?  "Distorting stuff" is in there from the start.  We are interconnected by eating, drinking and breathing with chemistry around us.  It is in the water and the air.  It is in our food because that's how we work.

Getting the culture to appreciate how our bodies and minds work in order to relax concern about 'drugs' runs into another problem.  Refined drugs provide more sensational experiences, really "mind blowing" in a not so wonderful form.  Overwhelming the senses is not how we enjoy our senses.  It is what we do when we are looking for deeper feeling or 'experience.'  It is not how we "feel good" in order to be good at work and play.  Crack and Meth really are the kind of substances that give drugs a bad name.

Unlike heroin, with many maintaining successful lives and an addiction, the big energy and speed highs are not enjoyed nodding your head and sitting in the corner.  I have serious questions to ask the heroin addict about what the drug is doing for them.  Dropping out is not improving their social life unless they were going to do bad things with people.  Why people take various drugs matters, and it also sorts out which substances are social problems or indicators of people who need help with matters other than substance abuse.

The downside of pot turns out to be negligible at worst.  In typical entropic irony, the American Empire has this gaping domestic wound called the War on Drugs.  Not a focused and intelligent campaign to lessen the dangers of the dangerous substances, but a symbolic campaign against the drug of choice of many non-WASP ethnic communities.  You can review the sordid history of this reefer madness bs, but the actual social policies are so counter-productive to stated goals that one would think it would be noticed and something else tried.  You only have to look where real success has been achieved, like Portugal.

How I wish decriminalization were easier than legalization!  Nope. Money to be made.  We are hearing all the time about how much revenue can come from taxing weed production.  AAARRRGGGHHH!  Here comes the Oregon Marijuana Control Board making a lot of informal production and exchange "illegal."  Look at the stupid taxing mechanisms in WA and the awful use of blood tests for driving as if pot were like booze in the bloodstream.  Experienced pot smokers can operate heavy equipment, etc., without any harm to performance, but nobody should drive when they are not clear and alert.  Have that upper coffee and stay awake.

There are few issues where I want "government" out of it instead of expressing our shared community interests in the issue.  The beneficial forms of outreach and care for real drug victims aside, I find no positive role for the State in the weed trade other than a possible ban on large scale production.  I don't want 'corporate' running the trade either.  This is pretty close to Libertarian Paradise politically where we have a "green" green and gold at very low prices.  Nope, the New Year is not going to bring decriminalization when there is money to be made by legalization.