Chicago Marijuana Arrests Dropped By 21,000 in Six Years

When cities decriminalize marijuana, it's obviously expected that the number of cannabis-related arrests will decline substantially. But in Chicago, the number of arrests has declined by an unbelievable number.

According to the statistics, the Chicago Police arrested 129 people and gave out fewer than 300 tickets in 2017 for marijuana related offenses. In comparison, in 2011 CPD arrested more than 21,000 people for marijuana crimes. So in only six years, there's been a drop by nearly 21,000 in arrests.

In 2012 the city of Chicago told police officers to start handing out tickets instead of arresting people for marijuana, and then in 2016 the state of Illinois made possession of marijuana a civil offense rather than a crime. 

Kathie Kane-Willis, a drug policy researcher who is director of policy and advocacy for the Chicago Urban League, says that while she expected arrests to drop but "not to this level. I am a little surprised by it.”

That doesn't mean Chicago's marijuana policies are 100 percent perfect. 76 of the 94 people arrested for petty marijuana possession in 2017 and the beginning of 2018 were African-American. So minorities are still being targeted more in the few arrests the CPD still makes for cannabis-related charges.

But still, you can't deny that the Chicago Police have made tremendous progress on this issue.

(h/t Chicago Sun-Times)


Many are waiting for the next state to make the major step of legalizing recreational marijuana, and according to one state senator, the state to watch is New Mexico. New Mexico State Senator Jerry Ortiz y Pino says he believes a bill he recently introduced to legalize recreational marijuana will pass in the near future. A similar bill was introduced last year in the New Mexico state house, but it failed to get enough support.

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