In recent days, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel endorsed a proposal in City Council, introduced by Alderman Danny Solis, to change the way that Chicago Police deal with arrests for those persons who possess less than ten (10) grams of marijuana. Under the proposal, police would respond to such incidents by issuing a ticket rather than arresting and processing for the person possessing such a small amount of marijuana. In response to these developments, the ACLU of Illinois issued the following statement:

We are pleased to support the ordinance proposed by Alderman Solis and endorsed by Mayor Emanuel. Reducing the more than 18,000 arrests in the City of Chicago for possession of small amounts of marijuana is good policy that will save more than $1 million each year for the City and focus police resources on more serious crime.

The proposal should be a first step in repairing the corrosive, destructive drug policies that have resulted in the overincarceration of millions of Americans (mainly young men of color). A critical first step to reducing this problem is to limit the number of youth who are arrested for non-violent drug possession.

We urge the City Council to approve this ordinance and implement this policy as soon as possible.