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Today’s number: 40,000

Monday, Jun 29, 2015

* AP

Arrests and court-related costs associated with marijuana possession in Illinois are estimated to be between $78 million and $364 million per year, according to the Illinois Consortium on Drug Policy at Roosevelt University.

About 40,000 people are arrested for marijuana possession in the state each year, according to the Illinois Sentencing Policy Advisory Council.

Even though less than 10 percent of those arrested end up being convicted, the current system creates costs that would be saved under the bill, council executive director Kathryn Saltmarsh said.

The council, a unit of state government, estimates that the provisions in House Bill 218 would have saved more than $13 million over a three-year period from 2011 through 2013. Most of the savings is connected with the bill’s reductions in misdemeanor and felony penalties for possession of more than 15 grams but less than 500 grams. […]

The Illinois Department of Corrections gives a more ambitious estimate of savings associated with legislation: $21.2 million in prison operating costs and $3.4 million in construction costs over a 10-year period.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Homer J. Quinn - Monday, Jun 29, 15 @ 9:25 am:

    if HB218 was for legalization modeled after Colorado, instead of decriminalization, the tax revenue would dwarf those projected savings.

  2. - Grandson of Man - Monday, Jun 29, 15 @ 9:26 am:

    Smart recreational marijuana legalization would do Illinois right in several ways. We would eliminate wasteful spending on misdemeanor court cases. We would spare our residents the harm and humiliation of arrests for a drug far less harmful than alcohol. We’d generate lots of tax revenue and would create economic growth.

    I hope Rauner takes a positive step and signs HB 218.

  3. - Wordslinger - Monday, Jun 29, 15 @ 9:41 am:

    Waste of time and money, for everyone.

  4. - better days - Monday, Jun 29, 15 @ 9:53 am:

    Funny how groups look to save money for their pet projects .. Saving Money ?? How the millions of state money wasted in corruption ,crony deals each year

  5. - Kentucky Bluegrass x Featherbed Bent x Northern California Sinsemilla - Monday, Jun 29, 15 @ 10:26 am:

    If Rauner is serious about criminal justice reform this is a solid first step. I’d love to see recreational in IL but if the medical program is any indication of how IL would regulate recreational grass I bet only the well off would be able to afford to get into the business. And those corner boys will be left with one less economic opportunity. Have any of the municipalities that already have the ability to ticket seen any uptick in the DUIDs? The law enforcement community always uses that scare tactic but are there any real numbers from IL municipalities to indicate a problem? I’ve seen numbers from Colorado saying both driving fatalities are down and DUIDs are up…

  6. - SAP - Monday, Jun 29, 15 @ 10:42 am:

    $13M divided by 3 = $4.3M per year
    $24.6M divided by 10 = $2.46M per year.

    How is the Department of Corrections estimate of savings more ambitious?

  7. - Ethan Hawk - Monday, Jun 29, 15 @ 11:32 am:

    I find myself evolving on the marijuana issue. I have never used it but I am inclined to treat marijuana users just like I would treat the users of alcohol. I don’t see much difference between the two. If you get caught driving while under the influence of marijuana, then the penalty should be the same as those found guilty of driving under the influence of alcohol. I never thought I would feel that way years ago but I have changed on my thinking on this issue. It is as much of an economic issue as anything else. I don’t think we should be the morality police on marijuana or alcohol use. Only when it impacts the public’s general safety should the government step in. We can not morally, ethically, of financially be acting in the role of the Morality Police in Illinois.

  8. - Cassandra - Monday, Jun 29, 15 @ 11:39 am:

    So…who benefits from those 40,000 folks being arrested each year. Well, there are bail bond companies, contractors who serve jails, govt employees of vast, patronage-ridden “justice” systems across the state including police, prosecutors, even judges, all making hefty salaries off the public for their “work”, those arrests are a real economic engine.

  9. - D.P.Gumby - Monday, Jun 29, 15 @ 12:19 pm:

    Legalize, tax and open the Museum!!

  10. - Cannon649 - Monday, Jun 29, 15 @ 4:07 pm:

    This is is a mixed issue for me.

    Yes I see a lot of waste and corny types making out well with current law. Clearly a lot of “waste”.

    I see this as a gateway drug and and true downside is not yet known. Colorado is already complaining of lower revenue and too much regulation.

    In Illinois we need the saving am I am not sold that this would ever save anything.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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