Evanston has the fourth highest number of arrests and convictions for marijuana possession among all communities in Cook County.

That tidbit is part of a major story on drug enforcement policies in the Chicago Reader.

The paper notes dramatic racial disparities in who is busted for marijuana possession — with 15 times more blacks than whites arrested in Chicago, despite studies showing heavy use of the drug among whites as well as blacks.

And it looks at Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle’s argument that current enforcement policies “are stupid and extraordinarily expensive.”

Original story

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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10 Comments

  1. Arrest everyone

    Congrats with the stepped-up enforcement of drunken driving.  Congrats on the Pot busts.  Keep it up meter readers.  Does it not show that the enforcement on the peoples will have us all scared?

  2. When will our society stop

    When will our society stop criminalizing victimless crimes like pot smoking/possession (unless driving while intoxicated is involved)? 

    My vote is to pursue violent crimes and white collar fraud… (including elected official wrong doing prosecutions)!

  3. why is this something we spend time and money on?

    Really, why are we still worried about pot possession?  Waste of time, waste of money – and clearly enforced differently depending on your race!

    1. Pot smoking is not

      Pot smoking is not victimless. I've been the substance abuse treatment industry for 35 years, and one thing we know for sure is that 100% of crack, cocaine, and meth users/addicts started with pot smoking. Sure alcohol has delivered to our society its problems, but legalizing pot only compounds those problems. I'm glad it continues to be illegal and that Evanston keeps enforcing the laws as they current stand.

  4. Marijuana should be legal

    What a waste of taxpayer's money and law enforcement's time/budget.  Marijuana should be legalized and taxed.  Period.

  5. ridiculous

    what a waste of time, energy, and money.  stupid, stupid, stupid.  Even if we can't change the law, Evanston could make the policy choice not to enforce small personal possession.

  6. Marjiuna laws = absurd

    === Sure alcohol has delivered to our society its problems, but legalizing pot only compounds those problems. ===

    So, why not criminalize alcohol?  And then nicotine and caffeine. 

    Your argument is actually very revealing.  You argument seemingly indicate that pot does not cause societal problems, but crack/cocaine and meth do but people tend to use pot prior to the other drugs.  So you basically want to criminalize marijuana, an activity responsibly enjoyed by a large segment of the adult population, because other people use non-marijuana drugs irresponsibly?  I am quite sure most cocaine and meth users also tried alcohol first, according to your logic alcohol should be criminalized too.   You prefer personal choice and freedom to be trumped by government control and imprisonment. 

    The fact that government, on marijuana prohibition, wastes so many resources and adversely hurts so many lives makes me sick.  We need more elected officials like Toni Preckwinkle to show some courage and speak out on this tragic policy.

  7. Marijuana arrests

    Given the need for police officers to address real crime on our streets and the true racial disparity that exists in the marijuana arrests in Evanston,  the EPD would be well advised by our Cook County Board President- a thoughtful and wise woman who is quoted in the Reader Article:

    "Preckwinkle added that she recently told Chicago police superintendent Garry McCarthy to 'stop arresting people for small amounts of drugs, because you're wasting our time'"

    1. Guns or pot?

      No wonder Evanston is broke…and violent crime prevails on our streets. When I take a walk to the lake, do I go down the street where gun-carrying gangs hang out? Or do I go down the street where the aroma of marijuana wafts gently through the air? Somehow, I feel much safer on the latter. In fact, even comfortable. Pot smokers tend to be pleasant. Mellow citizens of Evanston, they are…and they don't threaten my life. Yes, I'm an aging former Hippie…but never advanced to meth or cocaine. I got my highs studying for an advanced degree and raising a family. And still say, make love, not war. Get the violence off our streets and leave the lovemakers alone. Peace to Evanston!

      1. Guns and pot

        There have been and still are U.S. soldiers making war and smoking pot.

        There are violent thugs roaming the streets high on marijuana. One in Chicago the other day stole a car and crashed into a car driven by a 42-year-old mother who was going home after a long shift as an emergency dispatcher. She was killed, leaving behind a young child and a husband. And the punk, high on marijuana and ecstasy, was supposedly an honor student.

        Pot does not lead to peace, bro.

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