Fair
57°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 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Reader Poll

What's your prediction for the Stanley Cup Final?
Blackhawks in 4-5 games
Blackhawks in 6-7 games
Lightning in 4-5 games
Lightning in 6-7 games