Stateliners Convicted of Marijuana Possession Could be Given Second Chance

- Rockford- Reverend Anthony Grier of Progressive Baptist Church helps many troubled youths find jobs. But many of them face hurdles from their past. Grier says “I’ve had experience with some of the youth that I’ve worked with that had marijuana scenarios where they could not get a job because either it was on their record, it stated on their record that they were in trouble with that nature.”

That’s why he’s hoping a proposed drug bill in the Illinois Legislature is passed. It would eliminate criminal penalties for anyone possessing less than 30 grams of marijuana, and limit fines to no more that one hundred dollars. The offense would be removed from the person’s record once the fine is paid.

A group of supporters are traveling to Chicago Thursday to present new information backing the bill.  Legal Analyst Chris Lindsey says “considering that our last three presidents, including our current sitting president all admitted to using marijuana in their youth, I could only imagine what would have happened if they got in trouble for it.”

He also says it could help minorities. Lindsey explains “for instance in Illinois as an African American, you’re 7.6 percent more likely to be arrested for marijuana possession then whites.

Winnebago County State Attorney Joe Bruscato says removing penalties for weed should continue being looked into, but right now he’s opposed

Bruscato says “the reasons why we discourage and detour people breaking the law, is it has consequences. And at this point in time, decriminalization of marijuana will have other ramifications that can include public safety concerns.”

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