A City Council committee has passed an ordinance that would allow police officers to write tickets for small amounts of marijuana, but some aldermen have lingering concerns.
After hours of questions and criticsm Thursday, 13 aldermen voted to pass an amended version of the original proposal. Alderman Nicholas Sposato (36th) was the only no vote. Police Superintendant Garry McCarthy and other members of the police department testified at the meeting, pressing upon aldermen the importance of having more latitude when dealing with marijuana possession.
McCarthy said he wasn't suprised at the depth of questioning over the ordinance, but he wanted to make sure aldermen knew the facts.
"This is not letting go of those things that we know reduce crime," he said. "I'm a big believer in the broken windows theory of policing where affecting those little things affects the big things. Because the way that the system is designed right now, it's not achieiving that end. We're not fixing broken windows by locking people up for low-level marijuana offesnes when nine out of 10 of them are not being pursued in court."
But some aldermen were still concerned that giving out tickets for 15 grams or less of marijuana would send the wrong message to Chicago youth.
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