Illinois lawmakers pass marijuana decriminalization bill

The Illinois House passed the bill with a 64-50 vote on Wednesday.

Justin Carissimo
New York
Thursday 19 May 2016 18:47 BST
Allegedly potent weed.
Allegedly potent weed. (Retinafunk/Flickr)

Illinois lawmakers have approved legislation to decriminalize possession of small amounts of marijuana.

The Illinois House passed the bill with a 64-50 vote on Wednesday, that previously passed in the Senate, sending it to Republican Governor Bruce Rauner’s desk.

Possession of up to 10 grams of marijuana is currently a class B misdemeanor, the Associated Press reports, and could land a defendant up to six months in jail with fines up to $1,5000. The legislation would impose fines between $100 and $200 with no jail time.

"Illinois is long overdue for creating marijuana policies that treat our residents more fairly and free law enforcement up for more serious crime," Representative Kelly Cassidy, a Democrat from Chicago, said in a statement. "We should not spend our resources arresting and jailing people just for the possession of a small amount of marijuana.”

The bill marks a rare rapport between Democrats and the Republican Governor, the Chicago Tribune reports, as they work together to reduce the state’s prison population.

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