Illinois lawmaker proposes decriminalizing marijuana possession

SPRINGFIELD (AP) — The war on drugs has been a failure, says a state representative who wants to downgrade marijuana possession to a petty offense carrying a $100 fine.

State Rep. Kelly Cassidy (D-Chicago) says the real problem is the dealer who brings cocaine and heroin into the community; not someone with a couple of joints in his or her pocket. Her bill calls for the fine for possession of up to 30 grams of pot.

Cassidy says low-level users are not a danger to our communities and they’re not a danger to themselves or others. She notes that jailing recreational marijuana users is not a good use of law-enforcement resources, and, when it comes to taxing and regulating, the state’s leaving money on the table at a time when it desperately needs it.

Cassidy says decriminalization, like same-sex marriage, stands to be a matter of when, not if.

Cassidy says she has experimented with marijuana but does not use it now.