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Chicago Could Loosen Grip on Potheads

As cannabis users clog the city's detention centers, police may take a more lenient approach.

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By Kenneth Garger

08/02/11

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There seems to be an overabundance of potheads in Chicago's detention centers. At a meeting last week to discuss overcrowding in the city's, Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle reminded Chicago officials how the system is clogged with inmates booked on minor drug possession charges, many of whom eventually see their cases dismissed by judges. Days after Preckwinkle’s presentation, Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy suggested his force may go easier on reefer toking individuals in possession of only small quantities. He reiterated that marijuana offenders will continue to be arrested on lesser charges. The plan is to slap them with a summons or citation, rather than booking them and locking them up. Chicago authorities are simply considering this option now. “It’s not cooked yet,” said McCarthy, but added, "I think that people are going to see some changes down the road." He believes that changing the approach to cannabis will free up his officers back to deal with more substantial crimes.

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