Effective immediately as part of Senate Bill 2288, Governor Bruce Rauner has signed the bill to make the possession of small amounts of marijuana be ruled a civil offense rather than a criminal offense for the state of Illinois. The notoriously strict prohibitionist state has made the changes so that possessing 10 grams of marijuana or less will be considered a civil offense punishable via fines of up to $200, according to Uproxx.
In cases where someone was charged with possession of 10 grams or less, the new law will expunge these civil citations. According to the Illinois Policy Institute, "This would occur within six months after the resolution of the offense and would reduce the chance that possession of small amounts of marijuana will keep a person from finding employment and supporting himself."
The new bill will not only allow the police to devote limited resources to more serious crimes, but also will save the state millions of dollars in enforcement and incarceration costs. "Exchanging criminal penalties for civil fines would result in a net benefit of up to $24 million to the state of Illinois over three years, including $15.1 million in avoided incarceration and probation costs and up to $9.1 million in estimated ticket revenue from the fines," according to the Illinois Sentencing Policy Advisory Council.
By the year 2025, Governor Rauner is aiming to reduce the prison population by 25%. The state spends nearly $22,000 per year on an incarcerated offender, and the state will save money by reducing the number of petty offenses such as marijuana possession in a small amount.
Do you support this new bill that decriminalizes marijuana in Illinois?