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Archive for the ‘marijuana’ tag

Discussions on Decriminalization of Marijuana Ongoing in Illinois

October 14th, 2014 at 8:27 pm

Marijuana plantAccording to a recent report, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel has proposed the decriminalization marijuana in certain circumstances. While similar suggestions have been voiced in the past, it seems that not everyone in the state of Illinois is on the same page regarding the proposal. In fact, some very opposite opinions have been raised about reforming drug charges from officials in the state.

The Mayor’s Position

Mayor Emanuel is reportedly arguing that some drug possession charges should be reduced in severity. Specifically, he is allegedly advocating for the decriminalization of marijuana possession in small amounts across the state of Illinois and for the reduction of the criminal grading of possessing less than one gram of any controlled substance from a felony to a misdemeanor. He said that doing so would make the criminal justice system more available to address more serious challenges to public safety and further the progress that has already been made.

The Mayor’s proposals would not only change the criminal justice system by saving time and money, but it also has the potential to make real changes to people’s lives. Mainly, the Mayor pointed out that those defendants who are trying to move forward with their lives after a drug charge would face many more challenges with a felony on their record than they would with a misdemeanor charge. This is especially relevant in employment settings.

Law Enforcement’s Position

It seems that the consensus among local law enforcement officials is that the Mayor’s proposal sends the wrong message regarding criminal behavior and fails to accomplish anything that is not already provided for within the context of the current court system. Regarding the grading of the drug crimes mentioned, representatives from the State’s Attorney’s Office in Peoria County have voiced the opinion that people charged with such felonies now can potentially erase their conviction by successfully completing probation or other specialized programs such as drug court. Their point is that alternatives are available to defendants who deserve them and such alternatives are regularly made available which allow the person to avoid having a felony conviction on their record.

Police officers also raised concerns that changing the grading of these criminal offenses from felonies to misdemeanors may not only send the wrong message, but may actually end up benefiting drug dealers by making it easier to sell controlled substances in smaller quantities. In addition, other law enforcement officials have voiced the opinion that decriminalizing drug charges as outlined by the Mayor would convey the message that it is acceptable to use drugs as long as they are being used in smaller quantities. This may not only signal to some users that some narcotics are less dangerous, but also that some drugs are considered “better” in the eyes of the law.

These concerns are of particular importance, officers are saying, as Illinois is in the middle of a heroin epidemic. Lowering penalties and hoping for a better result, they say, does not make sense. Instead, some are calling for a treatment component to be advanced with the decriminalization proposal it is advances. It is important to note that, in general, police seemed less concerned about the decriminalization of marijuana, in small amounts, where they would be allowed to issue citations for the offense.

Criminal Defense Attorney

If you have been charged with a drug crime in the Chicago area, do not hesitate to contact the experienced Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorneys at the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley today. We can schedule a consultation to meet with you in our Rolling Meadows or Chicago office to discuss your case.

Illinois’ Marijuana DUI Law Not Changed by Legislators

July 18th, 2014 at 7:58 am

According to an article recently published, state legislators in Illinois will likely not address issues brought up by the inclusion of marijuana in the state’s DUI law until next year. Currently, the law allows law enforcement to charge drivers with a DUI who were driving under the drug’s influence, even when no evidence of impairment exists. Many are joining in an effort to change this portion of the DUI law in Illinois.

A Bill to Change the Law

A bill was drafted to address the issue and was sponsored by a Senator from Chicago. Although it was recently returned to the Senate committee, likely for the rest of the General Assembly’s current session, supporters are adamant that it will not be forgotten. The plan is to reintroduce the bill next session. Many supporters of the bill are saying the reason for the delay is due to the perception that the bill may be moving backwards in DUI enforcement. Because of this perception, it may take some time for the proposal to gain support.

The bill would seek to change the DUI law by not imposing a DUI charge if any amount of illegal drug is found in a person’s system, but instead imposing a separate criminal offense if the presence of a drug was detected in a person’s system. Many are supporting the bill, but acknowledge that it may require some minor changes to gain enough support to pass. One such change may be to focus the proposed change only on marijuana and not any other illegal drug.

Current Law

Under the relevant Illinois DUI law currently, a driver can be charged with driving under the influence of marijuana if any trace of the drug is detected in his or her blood or urine. The problem is that traces of marijuana can be found in a person’s system several weeks after they actually used the drug. The law does not require prosecutors to prove that a driver was impaired by the drug that he previously ingested, only that traces of the drug were found in his system at the time he was operating a vehicle.

This law is having profound and sometimes tragic outcomes for those charged with a DUI. Numerous defendants have been charged with aggravated DUI causing death under the marijuana portion of the DUI law, and have been sentenced to years in jail as a result.

DUI Defense Attorney

While the bill has not yet passed, many supporters are considering the simple discussion of the issue a positive step towards addressing it. If you or someone you know has been charged with a DUI in Illinois, it is important to contact an experienced criminal defense attorney. The lawyers at The Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley have successfully represented clients in DUI cases. Contact our experienced Cook County criminal defense lawyers today for a consultation to discuss your case. We serve clients in Cook and DuPage Counties.

Illinois Marijuana Laws

September 11th, 2013 at 12:00 pm

LucyMarijuana, Mary Jane and pot are all names for the drug that come from the plant Cannabis Sativa. It is a very common drug in high schools and colleges across the country and has even made its way into quite a few movies in recent years, like “21 Jump Street” and “Pineapple Express”.

It is a psychoactive drug that is sometimes inhaled from a rolled cigarette, or joint, but can also be consumed when mixed into recipes such as brownies, cookies, butter or candy.

According to the University of Illinois marijuana laws, the marijuana that is used today is as much as ten times stronger than it was in the early 1970s.

Effects of marijuana include an increased heart rate, dry mouth and throat, bloodshot eyes, sleepiness and increased appetite.

Not only is marijuana illegal in most states, including Illinois, possession and sale of marijuana is also against the policies of many colleges and universities, including the University of Illinois. If a student has been found with marijuana, he or she may find herself in serious legal trouble, as well as suffering consequences related to school and financial aid.

In 1988, the Federal Anti-Drug Abuse Act allowed the denial of Federal benefits to anyone who is in possession or involved with the trafficking of marijuana, whether it was students with financial aid or other citizens with federal assistance.

If a student is convicted with a first offense of possession of marijuana, he or she could lose financial aid for up to an entire year. This includes grants, loans, or professional licensing provided by the government.

Along with loss of financial aid, students at the University of Illinois may be put on probation or dismissed from the University. Although every college has its own rules, many school penalties are similar to these.

If you are a student who has been caught with illegal drugs and you are afraid of losing your financial aid or worse, contact a criminal attorney for help. Criminal attorney Chris Cosley is located in Rolling Meadows, Ill. and can help to keep you in school today.

 

 

Indiana Teen Arrested for Selling Marijuana

January 5th, 2013 at 1:04 pm

Indiana Teen Arrested for Selling Marijuana IMAGE“Authorities in northwestern Indiana have charged a 16-year-old boy with dealing marijuana on school property, saying he sold marijuana-laced brownies to fellow students,” according to the Chicago Tribune. When confronted with a plastic container and metal baking pan with brownie crumbs in his locker that smelled of marijuana, the boy admitted to either selling or giving away the brownies to fellow students, and “police reported finding two $20 bills in his pocket that the boy admitted came from selling the brownies.” More lockers were searched and several students were questioned, but no more evidence or confessions were found in the 2,100-student school.

The boy’s arrest comes on the heels of some major legislation elsewhere in the country that would make his crime a moot point. In November of this year, both Colorado and Washington voted to fully legalize the drug, and according to Rolling Stone magazine there are several more states throughout the union poised to do so in 2013. “As many as 58 percent of Americans now believe marijuana should be legal,” the magazine reports, including former president Jimmy Carter. According to Rolling Stone, Oregon, Alaska, Nevada, California, and New Jersey are expected to join Colorado and Washington in the legalization of recreational pot in the next few years.

One reason that pot is up for legalization is the cost to taxpayers to keep offenders, like the 16-year-old Indiana boy, in the legal system. According to Illinois Times, at the end of 2011 there were 777 people locked up in Illinois prisons for cannabis offenses. “At an average annual cost of $21,911 per inmate… the public is paying more than $17 million per year to keep pot peddlers and users behind bars,” according to Illinois Times. For a state with serious budget concerns, this is a nice chunk of change.

If you or someone you know is facing drug charges for marijuana, or any other drug, don’t go through it alone. Contact a dedicated Illinois criminal defense attorney today.

Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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