Less harsh penalties for marijuana possession

By Anna Yee

August 8, 2012 Updated Aug 8, 2012 at 7:45 PM CDT

GALESBURG, Ill. -- The city of Galesburg is loosening penalties on those caught with marijuana.

On Monday, the Galesburg City Council passed an ordinance allowing police to issue $300 tickets to people possessing less than 2.5 grams of marijuana.

Galesburg police say they still have the option to punish offenders with state charges.

Those include jail time and a maximum $500 fine.

Police say issuing tickets will save a "considerable" amount of time.

Peoria city officials discussed a similar ordinance a few months ago, but it never made it to the council floor.

"One of the moral questions is," said Peoria Mayor Jim Ardis, "do we just want to send a message to the people still using a product that's illegal that it's OK have to small amounts with you, and you weigh that versus the amount of time it's taking our police officers off the street from going after the 'real' bad guys."

Ardis says the council will likely revisit the issue in about a month or so.

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