Preckwinkle Not Backing Down on Pot Stance | NBC Chicago
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Preckwinkle Not Backing Down on Pot Stance



    (Published Wednesday, Aug. 22, 2012)

    Toni Preckwinkle isn't done talking about the so-called war on drugs.

    The Cook County board president said Wednesday she regretted comments she made this week about former President Ronald Reagan deserving “a special place in hell” for his role in the drug campaign. But Preckwinkle said she doesn't plan to soften her feelings about the issue at hand.

    "I said I regretted my inflammatory remarks, and I also said I'm not going to stop talking about this issue," Preckwinkle said Wednesday at the groundbreaking for Oak Forest Health Center.

    She clarified her stance to the applause of supporters after apologizing the day before for comments made at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign.

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    "The war on drugs has failed," Preckwinkle told reporters at the groundbreaking. "What's happened is we've criminalized large numbers of our young people, particularly our African American and Latino young people."

    She went on to say Cook County and the country spend "an incredible amount of money on detaining and incarcerating people." Instead, she said, the money should be spent on investing in treatment.

    "I think it's appropriate at this facility ... to be talking about the importance of treatment, especially treatment on demand for those who decide they need to deal with their addiction."

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    This isn't the first time Preckwinkle has voiced her support of ticketing for small amounts of marijuana over arrests.

    In 2011, she was one of many legislators who sounded off about ticketing low-level pot offenders, in order to save jail space and money.

    Chicago this summer approved its own ordinance that gives officers the option to issue $250 to $500 tickets for possession of 15 grams of marijuana or less.