Chicago Police Making More Arrests for Pot Than Issuing Fines | The Fix
facebook twitter RSS
HOT TOPICS: Alcoholism  Addiction  AA  Cocaine  Heroin

Chicago Police Making More Arrests for Pot Than Issuing Fines

Despite weed being decriminalized in the Windy City, cops are arresting more people on marijuana charges, especially in urban areas.



By Paul Gaita


| Share

The city of Chicago decriminalized small amounts of marijuana in 2012, but a recent study shows that the city’s police are more likely to arrest marijuana offenders than issue a ticket.

The study, issued on May 19 by Roosevelt University’s Illinois Consortium on Drug Policy, showed that only seven percent of the misdemeanor marijuana violations – constituting up to 15 grams - recorded by Chicago police in 2013 resulted in a ticket between $250 and $500, which was the system implemented by the Chicago City Council. The remaining 93 percent of incidents resulted in the offender’s arrest. When compared with arrest patterns throughout Illinois, Chicago had the lowest decrease of marijuana arrests of any municipality in the state at 23 percent. The city’s arrest rate is also a staggering 230 percent higher than the national rate.

The study also highlighted the growing disparity in arrest rates among various counties and even neighborhoods. Because there is no single, unifying policy regarding marijuana enforcement for all of Illinois’ municipalities, the rates of arrests and tickets vary greatly from region to region; individuals in suburban regions like Evanston, Countryside or Champaign are more likely to receive a ticket, while offenders in Chicago and other urbanized areas will most likely be placed under arrest. In certain sections of Chicago, most notably the city’s notorious South and West sides, arrest rates are seven times higher than that of the city as a whole.

Adam Collins, a spokesperson for the Chicago Police Department, said that progress is being made in fully implementing the city’s ordinance, and noted that there have been approximately 5,000 fewer arrests for low-level marijuana possession in 2013 than were recorded in 2011. He added, “Like any new process, it has taken time to implement the ordinance, and we believe there’s much more work to be done on full implementation.”

But Kathleen Kane-Willis, the lead author of the study, took a dim view of the drop in arrest rates. “[The decrease] is not a win,” she stated. “I wouldn’t give our city or state a passing grade.”

Rehabilitation Directories

Most Popular
Sober Living
Normies React to the 12 Steps

"I think admitting to having a problem in general is the right first step, but to admit powerlessness is unhealthy. .. I think admitting powerlessness is more harmful because it doesn't help. Admitting that you want and need help is more useful after admittance."

The Rehab Review
Cliffside Malibu

The “beach-house-relaxed” Cliffside Malibu claims to provide an oasis for recovering addicts and alcoholics. And that’s just what you'll get—if you’ve got the cash.

Morningside Recovery

For a “rehab near the beach” experience that isn’t quite as costly as similar SoCal competitors, head to this Newport Beach treatment facility.

AToN Center

Whether you’re interested in the 12 Steps, SMART Recovery, or holistic treatments, this luxurious, appealing and commendable 4.5 star (our system doesn't yet show the 1/2 star) San Diego rehab has a program for you. 


This exclusive Northern California rehab is all about client choice—as well as golf outings, Buddhist field trips and keeping up with the office.

Capo By The Sea

Capo By The Sea offers an executive rehab program complete with medical detox and a focus on dual-diagnosis issues, as well as an outpatient option in an environment that exudes the kind of beach house optimism one would expect from an Orange County recovery outfit.

Journey Malibu

Want many of the luxury amenities A-listers have come to expect—including an enormous backyard with a pool and patio, an herb garden, a volleyball net and a spectacular vista of the Santa Monica mountains—with a recovery program to match?

The Ultimate Guide to Rehab

What you need to know when choosing an addiction treatment center.

the fix tv