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Hold It: City Council Passes Emanuel Pot Plan

By Chuck Sudo in News on Jun 27, 2012 7:30PM

As expected, City Council passed the pot ticket ordinance championed by Mayor Rahm Emanuel at today's City Council meeting.

The vote wasn't even close, despite the Sun-Times saying aldermen were "torn between their desire to get more police officers on the street and their fears of sending the wrong message to kids." The vote was 43 to 3 in favor of the ordinance, which means they weren't that torn and more in favor of their desire to get more cops on the street, were enticed by the revenue that would fill city coffers from the tickets, or a combination of the two.

The ordinance allows police the ability to write tickets to people found holding 15 grams or less of marijuana ranging from $250 - $500. That's a steep fine considering you can buy 20 grams of medium quality weed in Grayslake for $20, according to; five grams of primo bud in Chicago will run you $10. So while you heads may think you're free to hold in public now, it will cost you more if you get caught.

Even though the ordinance passed with flying colors, even some aldermen who voted in favor of the ordinance is enthused about the 15 gram ceiling. The ordinance also underwent revisions so that people caught in possession of pot on school grounds or park property would still be arrested. According to Police Supt. Garry McCarthy, once an officer writes a pot ticket, he'll seize the stash and head directly to his district station, where the pot will be inventoried and tested. If it tests positive as cannabis, the officer signs an affidavit and goes back on patrol. The holder then receives the fine in the mail and will have seven days to pay the fine ir request an administrative hearing. If they fail to attend the hearing, they'll be fined $500.

Despite the vote, Emanuel said he knew aldermen didn't have it easy.

"I respect the conflict people had in this process,” Emanuel said after the vote. “It wasn’t a slam dunk either way. . . I expect us not to end the debate here, but to continue scrutinizing.”

The ordinance takes effect Aug. 4.