4/20 Anita Alvarez

"Highronic" Times

Thursday, April 23, 2015 Michael WHITE

These are 'highronic times' in deed as Cook County State's Attorney Anita Alvarez took progressive action in marijuana reform. On 4/20, Alvarez initiated a new lay of the law by pledging to no longer prosecute misdemeanor marijuana cases.



Alvarez's new initiative will link non-violent, repeat low-level drug offenders with drug prevention outreach. This new program will not affect any pending cases.

These misdemeanor cases used to carry the possibilities of severe punishments, which makes this new legislation.. too little... too late.

A week ago, possession of one gram of marijuana in Cook County could of netted 30 days in jail and $1500 fine. Today, possession of 20 grams carries the punishment of a ticket. The county prosecuted 15,000 such cases last year.   That number is staggering and befuddles the benefit of prior prosecution.

commonsense.uchicago.edu


Alvarez has created uneven territory. In the counties that surround Cook, states attorney's are still flooding jails and bankrolling excessive fines on the backs of  non-violent offenders. Kane County has a deferred prosecution plan and has proved successful more then 70 percent of the time.

These changes in Cook County are far from making marijuana's recreational use legal, and furthers the need for state-wide legislation. The state of Illinois is not yet united on its own front while 4 other states have legislated for recreational marijuana use.

These times are 'highronic' because marijuana use in backrooms and hush-hush scenarios is now mainstream. The reefer-madness model is no longer working and states like Illinois are still stringing it along. This new program, while very beneficial to unclogging court systems falls very short of the actual reform needed.



Medical use of marijuana is legal in Illinois as with a handful or other states, however Illinois's program is in it's infancy and has yet to see a single grower begin operations.








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