The Illinois House Restorative Justice Committee has given unanimous approval to two separate measures aimed at decriminalizing cannabis possession, one of which would also decriminalize cannabis cultivation and distribution.
House Bill 4299 would make the possession of up to 30 grams of cannabis a simply $100 ticket, rather than an arrestable misdemeanor as it currently stands. In addition, the measure would remove criminal penalties – also making it an $100 ticket – for manufacturing or delivering up to 10 grams of cannabis, and for possessing up to 5 cannabis plants. It would also reduce the charge from a felony, to a misdemeanor, for the possession of between 5 and 20 plants, or between 30 to 500 grams.
Under House Bill 5708, the possession of up to 30 grams of cannabis would be decriminalized, reduced to an $100 ticket, as with House Bill 4299. Unlike that bill, House Bill 5708 would have no effect on penalties regarding manufacturing or delivering cannabis.
“The war on drugs has not worked,” says Representative Christian Mitchell, one of the sponsors of House Bill 4299. “Our jails are overcrowded. We need to get smarter on crime, not tougher. Drug addiction is a public health problem, not a public safety problem.”
Both measures now move towards a full House vote.