Police chief presents numbers on pot enforcement

More tickets, fewer misdemeanor charges

URBANA, Ill. (WCIA) -- If you get caught with marijuana in the city, you're most likely not headed to jail or court.

On Monday night, the city's police chief shared information on how her department deals with people in that situation. Her numbers show that's changed over the years. T

he city has been working on decriminalizing pot for a while. Almost two years ago, the city fine for having pot was dropped from $300 to just $50.

Police officers do have the option to write an offender a ticket for that instead of arresting them for a misdemeanor, and the numbers show, writing those tickets is happening much more often.

Considering personal possession of a small amount of pot: Last year, Urbana police officers wrote 70 tickets for that. But only 17 people were charged with a misdemeanor for violating state law.

Compare that to the year before: They only wrote half that number of tickets, but charged four times the people they did in 2017-- basically the opposite.

Attorneys at U of I student legal services say they're seeing the same trend.

Even though you're more likely to be ticketed than handcuffed, if you get caught with a large amount of pot, you're still probably going to jail. Urbana police arrested nine people last year for felony charges of delivery, manufacture, or trafficking. That's up from three people in 2016.
    
 


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