Chicago Mayor Proposes Major Cannabis Policy Changes

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot proposed major cannabis policy shifts for the city in light of the legalization of adult-use cannabis in Illinois, which is set to take effect January 1.

Full story after the jump.

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot has proposed a plan to reduce penalties for unlawful cannabis possession and end the police policy of automatically impounding vehicles from drivers in possession of cannabis, NBC Chicago reports. The move is a step toward aligning the city’s laws with the recreational cannabis laws passed by the state legislature in June.

Under the proposal, penalties for unlawful possession would be reduced from $500 for first-time minor offenses to $50. Under the state’s cannabis law reforms, adults can possess up to 30 grams of flower and transporting under those limits in a vehicle is permitted, as long as the products are in a sealed container.

The plan would also amend Chicago Police enforcement rules to educate officers on the new state law and outline activities that will remain illegal such as smoking cannabis in any public place, in a vehicle, or other areas protected by the Smoke Free Illinois Act.

“For far too long, unjust and outdated cannabis enforcement laws have adversely and disproportionately affected Chicago’s black and brown neighborhoods. The legalization of cannabis in Illinois presents a powerful opportunity to reform our policies, and right these generation-old wrongs of the past as we work to ensure a safe, fair, and responsible implementation in Chicago.” – Lightfoot, in a statement, via NBC Chicago.

Chicago Police Department Eddie Johnson said that the training will occur “over the coming months.”

“By overturning outdated cannabis laws, Chicago’s police officers will finally have a smart, sensible, and safe framework that prioritizes public safety of all residents in this city,” he said in a statement to NBC Chicago.

The new city rules would take effect on January 1 – the same day the statewide laws go into effect.

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