Great news from Illinois! The state Senate recently passed a bill that would lower the penalty of marijuana possession to no jail time and a fine of up to $125. The previous penalty for simple possession was a fine of $2,500 and up to one year in jail.

Seventeen states have now decriminalized cannabis. Many cities are taking similar steps when their state governments will not.

From the Chicago Tribune:
Republican Sen. Jason Barickman of Champaign voted for the measure, saying it would help ease the state’s financial woes by reducing court costs.

“Every person you talk to in this state wants us to find ways to save money,” Barickman said. “This legislation gives us a way to do that. It will save some money at the state level, and give us the opportunity to save money at the local level.”

During consideration in the House last month, Cassidy said:

“the measure wouldn’t override laws in cities like Chicago that already have fines in place for marijuana possession but is aimed at creating a uniform penalty throughout the state and eliminating the option for police to arrest people carrying small amounts of pot.”

The sponsors of the bill are waiting for approvals for some small changes to the language before it will hopefully be signed by the governor. If that happens, the law would take effect at the beginning of next year.

Hopefully within the next several years it will no longer be a crime to possess cannabis in any state.