Chicago Mayor, Rahm Emanuel is expected to support a proposal that will allow police officers to ticket people who are caught with small amounts of marijuana. What does this mean for our children? Marijuana is an illegal substance in Chicago and the Mayor plans to remove the serious ramifications for possessing it. How many kids will smoke pot now that there is no real punishment for smoking or possessing it? A $100 ticket is not a real punishment for having an illegal substance. This proposal will give kids a clear indication that its ok to smoke pot. The legal system in Chicago is now passing the buck to save money.
How are parents supposed to explain this to their kids? "Hey little Johnny, yesterday you could get arrested for smoking pot, but today I'm stuck with a $100 ticket and you don't get arrested. You are going to have to work to pay this money back and you are grounded!"
Picture this Mayor Emanuel, a group of teenagers standing on the corner after school, smoking pot. A police officer approaches and they freely offer their school IDs and accept their tickets. Good luck finding the parents to collect the ticket fines. The effects of marijuana use vary by individual. Some of the effects include, loss of coordination, memory, judgement, perception and decision making. The city has saved some money but what if these students get into a car to drive home and have an accident because they are under the influence of pot? Is the Mayor and the city going to be held accountable?
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse the number of teens using marijuana has increased since the last study in 2006. The 2011 Monitoring The Future Study found that 7.2% of eighth graders, 17.6% of tenth graders and 22.6% of twelfth graders had used marijuana a month prior to the survey. This study also stated that in 2011, 6.6% of 12th graders reported using marijuana daily. Let's keep these figures in mind and see if they continue to increase in Chicago with our punishment for marijuana possession reduced to that of a traffic violation.
If this proposal passes, we are telling our children that possessing pot is like running a red light or a stop sign. You just pay the fine and go about your business.
Mr. Mayor, you disappoint me.