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Latino State News

Chicago Residents Support Marijuana Decriminalization Via Online Petition

Within 24 hours, more than 2,000 Chicago residents sign online petition launched by former prosecutor supporting Chicago’s proposal to make marijuana possession an infraction instead of a misdemeanor.

More than 2,000 Chicago residents have signed a petition on Change.org started by a former Cook County prosecutor in support of a city proposal to decriminalize the possession of small amounts of marijuana from a misdemeanor to an infraction.

Jim Gierach, a former assistant state’s attorney of Cook County and current member of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP), started the petition on Change.org to show the council members that Chicago citizens want police spending less time enforcing marijuana laws and focusing more resources on the city’s rising violent crime problem. LEAP is an organization of current and former members of law enforcement who are speaking out about what they call a “failed war on drugs.”

“I expect the City Council to show great leadership by decriminalizing marijuana possession today,” said Gierach. “As a prosecutor, I’ve seen first hand that our marijuana laws aren’t working. This proposal shows that our leaders here in Chicago realize that focusing on this nonviolent crime is not only costing us tax precious dollars, it’s costing precious lives.”

The proposal already had support from Mayor Rahm Emanuel, local police, and a majority of the 50 city council members before Gierach started his petition. But Gierach hopes the petition shows that there is public support for reforming drug laws.

“Supporting marijuana law reform isn’t going to hurt politicians,” he added. “Polling consistently shows that voters support marijuana legalization in growing numbers.”

The new proposal allows Chicago police to ticket rather than arrest those who are caught with 15 grams or less of marijuana. Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy has stated that the measure will free more than 20,000 hours of police time each year that is currently spent on making and processing arrests for small amounts of marijuana.

Live signature totals from Jim Gierach’s campaign:

For more information on Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, please visit:
Law Enforcement Against Prohibition is an international organization of criminal justice professionals who bear personal witness to the wasteful futility and harms of our current drug policies. Our experience on the front lines of the “war on drugs” has led us to call for a repeal of prohibition and its replacement with a tight system of legalized regulation.

For more information on Change.org, please visit:
Change.org is the world’s fastest-growing platform for social change — growing by nearly two million new members a month, and empowering millions of people to start, join, and win campaigns for social change in their community, city and country.