Bill that would lower drug offense penalties advances to Illinois House

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ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — A plan to reduce penalties for hard drugs is moving to the Illinois House floor for a potential vote.

Critics voiced concerns that taking jail time off the table might remove the incentive for addicts to get help. HB3447 would not entirely decriminalize certain drugs.

For example, if police catch someone with up to 3 grams of heroin, fentanyl, or meth they would get a Class A Misdemeanor instead of a felony.

The same applies for 5 grams of cocaine or 40 pills of oxycodone or LSD.

“I don’t agree these are low levels…when I think of small amounts, I certainly don’t think of that those levels,” said Jim Kaitschuck of the Illinois Sheriff’s Association.

“But instead of sending them to public health or behavioral health to help them with addictions, our current system to county jails or in some cases to prison,” said Rep. Carol Ammons (D-Urbana).

Under the new law, people currently in jail for hard drugs could petition the court and ask for a lighter sentence.

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