The Evanston City Council voted unanimously on Monday to amend the City Code to decriminalize under 10 grams of cannabis. Citing easing the pain in the ass for both the justice system and the person who is ensnared in the system when caught with marijuana, the city council along with Mayor Elizabeth Tisdahl changed the law to make 10 grams or less a $50 to $500 fine per violation. It’s still illegal, but the penalty no longer sucks.
The Evanston city council voted unanimously in favor of the ordinance Monday night. Councilman Donald Wilson cited two main reasons for it.
“One is to reduce the load and burden on the criminal justice system, but also with regard to someone who is guilty of such a violation, not to put such a dark mark on somebody’s permanent record,” Wilson said.
Evanston Mayor Elizabeth Tisdahl said the idea first crossed her radar a few months ago. A friend called her up after hearing an NPR story about a similar law in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Tisdahl said the more she thought about it, the more sense it made.
Mayor Tisdahl said she hopes the ordinance ultimately helps young people get jobs as small amounts of marijuana possession won’t result in them having a criminal record.
The new city code section:
TITLE 8 – HEALTH AND SANITATION
- CHAPTER 16 – MARIJUANA
- 8-16-3: – PENALTIES OR DISPOSITION:
Any person who violates section 8-16-2 of this chapter by possessing ten grams (10 g) or less of cannabis shall be fined not less than fifty dollars ($50.00) nor more than five hundred dollars ($500.00) for each violation.