The Crystal Lake City Council will discuss and vote on a proposed amendment that would allow police officers to issue tickets to offenders caught with smaller amounts of cannabis, or marijuana.
The council will review the proposed code change at its regularly scheduled meeting at 7:30 p.m. at the Crystal Lake Municipal Complex, 100 W. Woodstock St., Crystal Lake.
Under Illinois law, possessing less than 30 grams of cannabis is a misdemeanor offense and possession of more than 30 grams of the drug is considered a felony, according to city documents.
In 2011, Crystal Lake Police made more than 50 arrests for misdemeanor cannabis possession offenses, Chief David Linder has reported to the city leaders. The arrests require "a great amount of time for patrol officers."
After each arrest, the police officers must transport the offenders to the police station for fingerprints and processing. A crime that can be relatively minor can take several hours to process, Linder said in his report.
If officers were allowed to issue the proposed tickets - which would carry a minimum fine of $500 and maximum fee of $1,000 - it would increase the time officers spend on the street patrolling.
In the staff recommendation to amend the code, it is stated that several other communities have changed their laws regarding misdemeanor cannabis possession, as well.
Crystal Lake's proposed amendment awards the patroling officer the discretion as to whether to issue a ticket or make an arrest for individuals in possession of less than 30 grams of cannabis. Those with more than 30 grams would automatically be arrested.