* From a press release…
Supporters of a bill that would remove criminal penalties for possession of small amounts of marijuana in Illinois released the results of a statewide poll showing strong support for such legislation. The Illinois House Restorative Justice Committee approved the bill last week, and supporters are now calling on members of the House to approve the proposal.
The Public Policy Polling survey shows 63% of Illinois voters support making possession of an ounce of marijuana a non-criminal offense punishable by a fine of up to $100. Only 27% oppose the proposal. The poll found majority support across all reported genders, races, and political party affiliations. The survey, which polled 769 Illinois voters from March 28-30, is available at http://www.mpp.org/ILpoll.
HB 5708, introduced by Rep. Kelly Cassidy (D-Chicago), would eliminate criminal penalties and the possibility of a criminal record for possession of up to 30 grams of marijuana. It would establish a new class of offense called a “regulatory offense,” which would prohibit arrest or jail time, limit fines to no more than $100, and require the ticket to be removed from a person’s record after the fine is paid, which would prevent individuals from losing employment and housing opportunities.
* According to the poll, even 56 percent of Republicans support this concept. Here’s the actual poll question…
Under current Illinois law, it is a criminal offense for a person to possess marijuana, and he or she can be sentenced to up to a year in jail for possessing an ounce of marijuana. Would you support or oppose a change in the law to make it a non-criminal offense to possess an ounce or less of marijuana for personal use, punishable by a fine of up to $100, but without jail time?
* Let’s ask the same question. Take the poll and then explain your answer in comments, please.