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Cook County Expands Law To Issue Tickets For Small-Time Pot Busts

CHICAGO (WBBM) -- The Cook County Board has voted to extend marijuana decriminalization into all areas of Cook County patrolled by Sheriff's police.

This means those arrested for possession of 10 grams or less of marijuana will receive a ticket instead of being subject to arrest.

The law already applied to anyone caught with 10 grams or less of marijuana in unincorporated Cook County. The law expands that to any Cook County municipalities that don't have their own police force and are patrolled by Cook County Sheriff's police.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio's John Cody reports


Board President Tony Prekwinkle said we deal inappropriately with drug offenses in this county by incarcerating low-level drug offenders instead of dealing with their addictions. She said she will work to see similar legislation passed by Illinois lawmakers in Springfield.

The policy of issuing tickets for small-time marijuana cases in unincorporated Cook County has been in place for two years but Sheriff Tom Dart did not enforce it, because it didn't cover the suburb of Ford Heights which is patrolled by Sheriff's Police, meaning there was no blanket countywide policy for Sheriff's police to follow.

The decriminalization policy does not cover Chicago, which is patrolled by its own police force, although Chicago Police Supt. Garry McCarthy has said he favors a similar policy.

Commissioner Jerry Butler (D-3rd) voted against the ordinance, saying it's unfair that there should be one policy for the county and a different one for the city.

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