Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle made headlines again yesterday when she reiterated what she’d told us a few weeks ago: it’s time for the Chicago Police Department to stop arresting people for possessing small amounts of marijuana.
But the police department isn’t ready to do anything different just yet, because some of the guys in the upper ranks continue to see pot busts as a way to get “gangbangers” off the street.
Preckwinkle, facing an estimated budget gap of more than $300 million for the 2012 fiscal year, says it’s too costly to detain people for marijuana possession. She told a group of reporters yesterday that she’s made this point to CPD Superintendent Garry McCarthy but has yet to hear back. “I suggested to him that although the law is pretty clear that such possession is a violation of the law, that since the judges routinely and almost universally dismiss such low-level drug charges that the police might stop arresting people for this since it clogs up our jail and these people their cases will be dismissed out anyway,” she said.
In an interview with Ben Joravsky and me a couple weeks ago, Preckwinkle was even more blunt, saying she’d asked McCarthy to “stop arresting people for small amounts of drugs, because you’re wasting our time.”