Bill would punish marijuana possession with fine

SPRINGFIELD (AP) — The Illinois House has passed legislation that would make possessing small amounts of marijuana subject to a ticket instead of a criminal charge across the state.

Those possessing 15 grams or less of marijuana would receive a maximum fine of $125 and avoid arrest under the measure.

Rep. Kelly Cassidy says her legislation creates a uniform way to treat marijuana possession and would prevent racial disparity in arrests. The Chicago Democrat says police in more than 100 Illinois communities can currently either write a ticket under a local ordinance or arrest a person for possession.

Supporters call the measure a step toward decriminalizing possession of small amounts of marijuana.

The measure passed by a 62-53 vote. It moves to the Senate.