Patch Poll: Should Possession of Small Amounts of Marijuana be Legal?

Americans’ views on legalizing marijuana are changing and some governmental bodies are enacting or trying to enact laws to decriminalize possession of small amounts of the drug.

Fifty percent of Americans—the largest portion ever recorded—now favor legalizing marijuana, according to an October Gallup poll. That total is up from 46 percent last year.

The Evanston City Council last month passed an ordinance amending the city’s marijuana laws so that any individual found in possession of 10 grams or less of marijuana will not be arrested. Instead, violators will be issued a notice to appear for a hearing, fined between $50 and $500 and possibly ordered to seek drug counseling, reported.

On the state level, State Rep. La Shawn Ford introduced a bill earlier this year that would lower the penalties for marijuana possession statewide. Rather than facing an arrest and potential jail time, anyone caught with up to an ounce would be fined between $500 and $1,000. According to the Chicago Reader, the bill was promptly buried in committee, and a spokesman for house speaker Michael Madigan gives it little chance of surfacing anytime soon.

The Chicago Tribune reported about a group of Chicago aldermen want penalties for the drug reduced, and Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle wants police to stop making low-level marijuana arrests, the Skokie Review reported.

DuPage County state's attorney Robert Berlin told the Reader that he has the resources to keep prosecuting marijuana possession cases, and no plans to do anything different.

What do you think? Should possession of small amounts of marijuana be legal?

Last week’s : Should retailers be encouraged to dial back Black Friday hype and promotion? Eighty-six percent of respondents answered yes; 13 percent said no.

Claudine Barnhart says: "PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY!!!! People need to take control of their actions. The stores won't open on Thanksgiving if no one shops on that day."

Jim R thinks, "The stores have gone overboard where they now are open on Thanksgiving evening, To me it shows these stores do not have much respect for the families on holiday celebrations. Here we should be giving thanks to God for what we have been given and sharing with those who have so little, not being crowded into stores to obtain some bargain."

Jim Burket says that he has "always used the 10% rule. Specifically, 10% of the general population is nuts or should have a do-not-touch sign on their person. Therefore, if there are 500 people in front of your local Best Buy angling for a $300 TV ... you do the math. IMO, shopping is best done locally if possible. If not, fire up the iMac and buy online. My wife and kids rarely pepper spray me when I am at my desk."

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Jim McMahon January 07, 2012 at 01:43 AM
I have never smoked pot, but from what I know its not harmful, just be sure to tell your Doctor - if your on medication.
John January 11, 2012 at 05:08 AM
I have to agree with NancyC. As a participant in the DARE program, I can't say that it's message has been particularly effective (not citing myself personally). In fact, there have been studies that suggest DARE can have adverse effects on participants, sometimes even increasing drug usage later in life. In elementary school, I had no idea what drugs like cocaine, heroin, ecstasy (even marijuana!) were! I would say more than anything, DARE exposes young kids who might not have any knowledge about drugs to them, opening the "gateway" at an even younger age (so to speak). Here's an old but interesting article about the topic http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,99564,00.html
Cronan January 11, 2012 at 03:14 PM
@ John Maybe the program should not start until high school. By the time kids are in Jr. High, especially with access to so much media, they are already beginning to see/ hear about drugs. I still believe we should be educated on the subject.
Martha Hanna February 02, 2012 at 04:08 PM
www.norml.org Legalize and tax, please. All pot smokers should come out of the closet and not be afraid. I am running for County board and I am in full support of legalization, just like alcohol. I am out of the closet, and I am for hydroponic farming of marijuana in Kane Co.
Lisa February 02, 2012 at 04:36 PM
...and DuPage too! :)


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