City Council discusses marijuana policy

By Julia Martinez

DeKALB | DeKalb City Council members discussed making the fine for possessing cannabis cheaper during a Monday City Council meeting at the DeKalb Municipal Building, 200 S. Fourth St.

Chapter 52 of the DeKalb Municipal Code states that no person shall possess any drug paraphernalia with the intent to consume or prepare it for consumption. Any person who violates this will be fined between $750 and $1,000.

“The issue was brought up because the state has changed its laws on holding cannabis,” said Fourth Ward Alderman Bob Snow. “So the issue was that the state laws still give cities the power to do something else as far as what to charge [for] the fine.”

Gov. Bruce Rauner signed Senate Bill 2228 July 29 that states individuals who possess up to 10 grams of cannabis will be charged $100 to $200 in fines.

Prior to this bill, the Cannabis Control Act stated possession of 2.5 to 10 grams of cannabis is punishable by up to six months in jail and fines up to $1,500, according to the Illinois General Assembly’s Statute amendments.

“I mean, it’s bound to happen that a student gets caught with marijuana, but to potentially fine a college kid up to $700 [is] ridiculous,” said freshman business major Celine Johnson.

City Attorney Dean Freiders said while there are changing societal viewpoints regarding cannabis use, DeKalb must also look at the correlation between minor offenses and major offenses.

“The discussion happened to help staff in direction, so we’ll see if we can come back with possibly a revised ordinance,” Snow said. “The law involving cannabis is evolving very quickly, especially among other states, so there is an expectation that the state of Illinois will make future changes, and if they do so, then the city should for sure look at their own changes.”

The next City Council meeting is 6 p.m. Oct. 10 at the DeKalb Municipal Building.