It is good to see the City of Chicago catch up with its progressive neighbors to the west when it comes to dealing with marijuana issues. After a vote last week, Chicago will join Oak Park and River Forest in altering the approach to citizens found with small amounts of pot.
This is not legalizing the use or possession of marijuana. It is, though, the decriminalization of pot, and for a number of reasons, that is a very good thing.
Led by a steady and determined pack of local parents, our villages have focused hard on drug and alcohol abuse issues among our teens over the past two years. Out of that effort came a consensus shared by top cops and later elected officials that the best way to deal with teens using pot is not to arrest them, not to get them a criminal record that might derail their futures but rather to take it seriously with fines and treatment options. Also, the best way to deploy our police officers is not to tie them up with pot paperwork that will clog the system but rather to put them on the same side of enforcement and treatment.
By easing up on traditional pot methodology, our villages, and now the City of Chicago are in stronger shape to tackle serious drug and alcohol abuse issues.