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McCarthy: CPD May Change Pot Policy

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Chicago police Supt. Garry McCarthy said Saturday his department is considering issuing tickets, rather than making arrests, to those possessing small amounts of marijuana.

    But while McCarthy said he's considering making amendments, he said it goes against his philosophy that "taking care of the little things prevents the big things from happening."

    "If the judiciary is not prosecuting, if they are not taking the actions on laws that are on the books, I don't think that's really my problem," he said.

    His remarks came during an anti-violence rally on the city's west side and just days after it was revealed that Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle had asked him to ease up on the pot arrests.

    "We are in fact looking at [ticketing] and I think that we're going to see some changes down the road," McCarthy said. "It's not cooked yet. That's why I shouldn't be talking about it. We're not done figuring out what it is we need to do."

    McCarthy emphasized that until a decision is made, arrests -- even for possession of small amounts of marijuana -- will continue.

    "We will continue to make arrests for illegal behavior, whether it's public urination or carrying a firearm," McCarthy said.

    Preckwinkle last month publicly called the War on Drugs a failure. She said the arrests for small amounts of pot are clogging up the judicial system and that the money would be better spent on education and treatment, rather than incarceration.

    "We have real addiction problems and we treat them as criminal justice issues rather than public health issues," said Preckwinkle. "For these small amounts, low level amounts of marijuana we ought to ticket people," she said.