Fair
61°FFairFull Forecast

Lawmaker: Lower penalty for small drug crimes

Published: Wednesday, Feb. 26, 2014 1:54 p.m. CDT

SPRINGFIELD — A lawmaker wants to reduce the penalty for possession of low levels of marijuana or harder drugs as part of a criminal justice "realignment" to reduce the strain on state prisons.

Democratic Rep. Michael Zalewski of Riverside introduced the package Wednesday after failed efforts last fall to get approval for longer sentences for carrying illegal weapons. Critics resisted the measure — a priority of Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel — saying it would further burden crowded prisons.

Zalewski still supports the gun measure but didn't discuss it in the House Judiciary Committee. He suggested making possession of less than an ounce of marijuana a petty offense — like a traffic ticket — and other legislation. The committee didn't vote.

Get breaking and town-specific news sent to your phone. Sign up for text alerts from the Daily Chronicle.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Watch Now

Player embeded on all DDC instances for analytics purposes.

Judge Denies Motion to Drop Rifkin Charge

More videos »

Reader Poll

How much are you comfortable spending on a purchase without consulting your spouse first?
Up to $500
Between $501 and $750
Between $751 and $1,000
More than $1,000