The statement below can be attributed to Ben Ruddell, Criminal Justice Policy Director, ACLU of Illinois:
“We applaud the Illinois House vote today sending House Bill 3447 over to the Senate. This bill reduces penalties for simple drug possession from a felony — which includes the risk of prison time — to a misdemeanor. This approach not only strengthens communities across Illinois but addresses fundamental problems in our criminal legal system, rejecting decades of failed policy under the moniker of the War on Drugs.
We know that taking a proven public health approach to reducing harms associated with drug use will benefit everyone in the State of Illinois. The voters recognize this reality. More than 3 in 4 registered voters in Illinois support this approach to simple possession of drugs. We urge the Senate to pass the measure as soon as possible.
We thank Representative Ammons for her sponsorship of this bill, and thank all of the members who supported the measure today. Illinois has suffered for too long under these failed policies. We can do better. We will do better.”