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Illinois Gov. to Collaborate Police Opinions Before Approving Decriminalization

Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner (R) is still reviewing a bill to decriminalize possession of up to 10 grams or less of marijuana, but has promised he will sign the measure after working with State Police on how to handle its implementation, the Associated Press reports.

The bill was sent to Rauner on June 16 and he has 60 days from that date to sign it into law. About 100 Illinois municipalities, including Chicago, already allow police to issue tickets instead of making arrests at their discretion. The pending legislation also would require citation records for possession to be cleared every six months unless local governments decide otherwise.

Greg Sullivan, executive director of the Illinois Sheriff’s Association, said he has reservations about the proposal due to its failure to differentiate between adults and minors who are caught possessing cannabis, and the law doesn’t bring proper attention to use by minors.

“As long as someone can afford the fines, guess what, I may never know it as a parent. I’ve got a problem with that,” he said in the report.

Under the original bill passed by lawmakers, possession of up to 15 grams would be subject to a non-criminal citation with fines between $55 and $155. Lawmakers also recommended that marijuana DUI standards in the state should be 15 nanograms. That version of the bill was vetoed by Rauner, who wanted the weight threshold and DUI standard lowered, in addition to higher fines.

The version awaiting the governor’s signature includes those changes; the DUI standard is 5 nanograms and possession fines are between $100 and $200. Once the bill becomes law, Illinois will be the 17th state to decriminalize marijuana possession.

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