Chicago Police issued 11 pot tickets during the first weekend of the city’s new marijuana ordinance.
The first man ticketed told the Chicago Sun-Times he spent about an hour and a half at the Morgan Park police station and said it was better than spending a night in jail.
Under the new rule, police officers have the option to issue $250 to $500 tickets, officially called administrative notices of ordinance violations, for possession of 15 grams of marijuana or less.
The new ordinance took effect last Saturday in the midst of Lollapalooza, Chicago’s three-day music festival.
According to the new rule, pot arrests still will be mandated for anyone caught smoking pot in public or possessing marijuana in or near a school or in or near a park, including Grant Park. No tickets were issued at the festival.
Backed by Mayor Rahm Emanuel, the new rule was approved 43-3 by the City Council in June. Emanuel said the policy will free up city cops for more serious crime and to ultimately save the police department about $1 million.
Under the new marijuana rule, anyone caught with pot under the age of 17 or without proper identification will still be arrested.