Suffredin- Changing County Government  
 

Accountability
Forest Preserves
Public Safety
Cook County Budget
Forest Pres. Budget
Property Tax Appeal
Health & Hospitals
Land Bank Authority
Policy Resolutions
Unsung Heroine

 

   
 
   
   
 
   
     
  Office phone numbers:  
   
 
 

The Cook County Code of Ordinances are the current laws of Cook County.

   
 

Search current and proposed Cook County Legislation in Larry's exclusive legislative library.

   
  Cook County is the second most populous county in the nation. It is the 19th largest government in the U.S.
   
     
     
     



Legal pot in Cook County? Lawmaker says let's vote

Tuesday, November 07, 2017
Crain's Chicago Business
by Greg Hinz

 

Legal pot in Cook County? Lawmaker says let's voteCommentsEmailPrint

Greg Hinz on Politics

With one eye on government's bottom line and another on public opinion, a Cook County commissioner today announced plans to let county residents vote in the March 20 primary on legalizing the recreational use of marijuana.

Barely after the proposed advisory referendum was announced, Commissioner John Fritchey said he already has enough support from colleagues to assure the measure makes it to the ballot.

Sign up for the free Today's Crain's newsletter

Fritchey said he's acting because taxpayers spend a small fortune to prosecute low-level possession charges and because those arrested end up with an ill-deserved record that hurts their ability to work and live their lives.

"It's clear that the biggest impact of our current laws is to waste millions of dollars while unnecessarily burdening both the Cook County State's Attorney's office and the Office of Public Defender," Fritchey said. "It is also taking police officers off the streets instead of having them dealing with more serious crimes. Let's stop wasting precious resources on misdemeanor marijuana possession charges so we can focus on more pressing issues, like gun violence and the opioid epidemic."

Instead of costing money, pot could make government a real fortune if it were legalized and taxed, added Fritchey, a North Side Democrat.

It's not clear how much local government still spends on marijuana-possession charges.

"Unless it's in connection with a more serious offense, we do not simply target people for possession," with offenders merely given a citation akin to a traffic ticket, said Chicago Police Department spokesman Anthony Guglielmi. "Dealing is another story."

Fritchey said he's seen research putting the local cost at up to $70 million a year, but conceded the data is a few years old.

Officially, the state of Illinois has the same policy: those caught with pot are subject to a fine, but no longer face a jail sentence.

There is substantial evidence that jurisdictions that have taken the next step and not just decriminalized, but legalized and taxed weed are getting a financial windfall. In Colorado, for instance, marijuana taxes netted the state just under $193 million last year, with another $182 million garnered just through September of this year.

Fritchey also cited changing public opinion. According to a recent survey by the Paul Simon Institute at Southern Illinois University, two-thirds of voters favor legalization if marijuana is taxed and regulated like alcohol.

Besides that, he argues, someone should not lose the ability to get a job or an apartment for something that, in his view, is less harmful to them than smoking or drinking alcohol.

Fritchey is pushing for a vote at the Dec. 13 meeting of the County Board. While a referendum on legalization would be only advisory, legislators are likely to take note of the results, said Fritchey, a former state representative who sponsored an early version of the state law allowing medical use of marijuana.



Recent Headlines

Measles Exposure Reported in Chicago
Monday, May 20, 2019
WTTW News

News from the Cook County Health System
Friday, May 17, 2019
Special to suffredin.org

Cook County Health Recognizes Mental Health Awareness Month
Thursday, May 16, 2019
Daily Herald

Skokie plans for road improvements near Edens Expressway: 'It’s desperately needed'
Thursday, May 16, 2019
Skokie Review

5 Chicago hospitals earn D grades for patient safety in new report, Northwestern slips to a B
Wednesday, May 15, 2019
Chicago Tribune

Chicago Daily Law Bulletin: Backward Glances
Wednesday, May 15, 2019
Chicago Daily Law Bulletin

Cook County Eliminated Its Gang Database, But Advocates Say Harm Continues
Wednesday, May 15, 2019
WBEZ News

New Cook County Housing Authority Proposal Targets the 'Missing Middle'
Wednesday, May 15, 2019
Evanston RoundTable

Census Citizenship Question Could Hurt Citizens, Noncitizens Alike
Wednesday, May 15, 2019
WBEZ Chicago Public Radio

News from Friends of the Forest Preserves
Tuesday, May 14, 2019
Special to suffredin.org

Cook County commissioners get earful about soon-to-be-destroyed gang database
Tuesday, May 14, 2019
Chicago Sun-Times

Detainee dies days after suicide attempt at Cook County jail
Tuesday, May 14, 2019
Chicago Sun-Times

Curious City How Chicago Women Created The World’s First Juvenile Justice System
Monday, May 13, 2019
WBEZ Chicago Public Radio

Cook County report: Sharp drop in jail population, but crime did not jump
Friday, May 10, 2019
Injustice Watch

Will Cook County be home to the next big measles outbreak? Researchers think so.
Friday, May 10, 2019
Chicago Tribune

May is Prime Time for Birding in the Forest Preserves of Cook County
Thursday, May 09, 2019
Special to suffredin.org

More Babies Are Illegally Abandoned Than Turned Over Through Illinois’ Safe Haven Law In Cook County
Thursday, May 09, 2019
CBS Chicago

Empty businesses may lose county tax incentives
Wednesday, May 08, 2019
Homewood-Flossmoor Chronicle

As new DCFS report highlights failures, Cook County guardian says 'inept' child welfare agency is ‘not doing its job ... at every level’
Tuesday, May 07, 2019
Chicago Tribune

Cook County passes bill to stop discrimination against tenant applicants
Tuesday, May 07, 2019
Chicago Crusader

all news items

Paid for by Larry Suffredin and not at taxpayer expense. A Haymarket Production.
^ TOP