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.