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Evanston Sees Dramatic Decrease in Pot Arrests in Favor of Tickets

Since the city allowed people in possession of a small amount of marijuana to be ticketed, arrests have fallen 46 percent.

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.

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shirley May 28, 2014 at 10:09 AM
I think for 10 grams or less of marijuana a ticket versus an arrest is reasonable. However, anytime you allow police officers to use their discretion when choosing between a ticket and a full arrest you are opening the door to inequality and discrimination.
nomonon May 28, 2014 at 10:09 AM
"Mayor Tisdahl advocated for the ordinance change, saying it would avoid permanent criminal records for young offenders who could later have a hard time finding jobs." If the high school age offenders (or their parents) are concerned about finding a job, maybe they shouldn't fry their brain before they're 18 years old. The ETHS senior who lives next door to me gets high morning, noon, and night, can't manage logical thought, and has trouble finishing a sentence.
IllinoisLibertarian May 29, 2014 at 07:41 AM
How about no tickets?

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