A new city ordinance in Marshall, Illinois goes above the state law.
It will put the heat on pot smokers caught with small amounts of marijuana.
This is an issue that the state actually pulled out of about a year ago. Right now, when it comes to the possession of less than 10 grams of marijuana. The state treats it as a misdemeanor and according to the Marshall mayor not much is done with it.
Ten grams of marijuana doesn’t sound like a lot, but it’s enough to make about 20 joints and it’s enough to get you a $100 fine in the town of Marshall. The same fine an underage drinker would face.
“Since the state passed a law saying they weren’t going to mess with anything basically less than 10 grams, they left it up to the cities to come up with some sort of penalty,” Mayor Camie Sanders said.
The newly approved fine is less than the penalty that used to be enforced by the state. Mayor Sanders says the money generated from the ordinance will go toward drug and alcohol education programs within local schools.
Marshall is a small, close knit community with only 4000 residents. School Superintendent Kevin Ross says they work closely with city police and City Hall. He’s in favor of the new ordinance especially when it comes to school kids.
“These things are going to be in front of them and they’re going to have opportunity and we just hope there’s just one more deterrent that helps them make a good decision in that case,” Ross said.
Many in the community are in favor of the new ordinance due to substance abuse issues, but others voice a different opinion especially in light of the progression of medical marijuana.
“People say it works for them, if they’re not healthy, if it works for them, then let them be healthy or let them feel better,” Bill Turner said.
I caught up with Turner at Whippoorwill Antique Mall who says he believes the new city ordinance should treat marijuana and alcohol as two separate issues, instead of sharing the same fine.
“I know a lot of kids now a days get caught and their parents just shrug it off like it’s kids being kids, there’s too many bad things happen with alcohol and driving and kids, they should do something, they should crack down on alcohol and kids,” Turner said.
Other Illinois cities like Robinson, Paris and Palestine have passed a similar ordinance. Mayor Sanders says violators have 14 days to pay their $100 fine after that the fine doubles and there are additional court costs.