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Mayor: Portion of Pot Ticket Revenue Would be Earmarked for Kids

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Mayor Rahm Emanuel said Tuesday he's modified a proposal giving police officers the option to ticket people for having small amounts of marijuana.

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Mayor Rahm Emanuel said Tuesday he's amended a proposal that would give officers the option to ticket, rather than arrest, people for having small amounts of marijuana.

The change: A portion of any revenue collected would be earmarked for an anti-drug campaign aimed at kids.

"I want to make sure our children get a clear and unambiguous message as it relates to drug use: it is wrong and it is dangerous," the mayor said Tuesday when asked about his evolution on the matter at an unrelated press conference.

He didn't lay out specifics.

Emanuel last week issued a statement throwing his support behind a proposal introduced last fall by Ald. Danny Solis (25th). His comments Tuesday were the first he's made publicly.

He said he changed his stance on the matter after his administration analyzed the amount of police time used to chase and prosecute suspected users, especially given that many of the cases are thrown out in court.

"It’s not decriminalization. It's dealing with it in a different way and a different penalty," he said.

People currently found to possess small amounts of marijuana face a misdemeanor charge punishable by up to six months in jail and a $1,500 fine.

Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle has long endorsed a change to the area's pot policies. Police Supt. Garry McCarthy has been more tepid to the idea.

The mayor said the move would free up police resources and save the city about a million bucks.

Ald. Ed Burke (14th) said Monday he needs more information before deciding whether he'll support the proposal.

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