Evanston has seen a 46 percent decrease in the amount of
people the police arrest for marijuana possession since the city passed an
ordinance in 2011 allowing police to ticket offenders instead, according to a
study released this month by the Illinois Consortium on Drug Policy at
Roosevelt University. By comparison, Chicago’s arrests only fell by 21
percent since the city altered its ordinance.
In Evanston, this translates to 69 percent of people found in possession of marijuana getting a ticket and the remaining 31 percent being arrested, the study shows.
In November 2011, the City Council unanimously passed an ordinance amending Evanston’s marijuana laws so that someone found in possession of 10 grams or less of marijuana could be given a ticket instead of arrested.
Police officers use their discretion when choosing between a ticket and a full arrest, according to an interview with Cmdr. Jay Parrott in the Daily Northwestern. A ticket is a much faster process, allowing the officer to be available to respond to an emergency call.
Mayor Elizabeth Tisdahl had advocated for the ordinance change, saying it would avoid permanent criminal records for young offenders who could later have a hard time finding jobs.
Are you happy to see this change? Do you believe a ticket vs. an arrest is the right way to handle possession of a small amount of marijuana.