Supporters of bill to remove criminal penalties for possession of small amounts of marijuana to rally April 3

Online Staff Report

CHICAGO — Supporters of a bill that would remove criminal penalties for possession of small amounts of marijuana in Illinois will release the results of a statewide poll Thursday, April 3, that show strong support for such legislation.

The Illinois House Restorative Justice Committee approved the bill last week, and supporters are now calling on members of the House to approve the proposal.

A new report, “Marked for Life: Collateral Sanctions in Illinois,” which details the impact of being arrested for a marijuana-related offense in Illinois, will also be released.

Collateral consequences of marijuana arrests in Illinois will also be the subject of a panel discussion at the Fourth Annual Forum on Drug Policy, which will be held Friday, April 4, at Roosevelt University in Chicago. For details, visit

The Marijuana Policy Project will release the poll and the report at a news conference at 11 a.m., Thursday, in the Blue Room of the James R. Thompson Center in Chicago. It will be joined by other supporters of the bill, including the Rev. Alexander E. Sharp, executive director of the Chicago-based Community Renewal Society; Kathie Kane-Willis, director of the Illinois Consortium on Drug Policy at Roosevelt University; and Whitney Sherrinsky, a central Illinois man who was denied public housing assistance 13 years after being arrested for possessing 2.5 grams of marijuana at the age of 16.

H.B. 5708, introduced by state Rep. Kelly Cassidy, D-Chicago, would eliminate criminal penalties and the possibility of a criminal record for possession of up to 30 grams of marijuana. It would establish a new class of offense called a “regulatory offense,” which would prohibit arrest or jail time, limit fines to no more than $100, and require the ticket to be removed from a person’s record after the fine is paid, which would prevent individuals from losing employment and housing opportunities.

Posted April 2, 2014

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