Illinois lawmaker to push marijuana decriminalization again

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - A Chicago lawmaker plans to try again next spring to drop criminal penalties for possession of small amounts of marijuana.

Democratic Rep. Kelly Cassidy plans to announce her proposal Thursday in Chicago.

The legislation would replace criminal penalties in Illinois with a civil fine for possession of a personal amount of marijuana.

The General Assembly endorsed a Cassidy-sponsored plan last spring to impose fines for possession of marijuana, but Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner used his power to rewrite legislation to lower the amount of pot allowed and impose higher fines.

The Legislature took no action to overturn the veto.

A statement from Cassidy on Wednesday said her new proposal would include provisions that Rauner and lawmakers "agreed to earlier this year."

Rauner lowered the amount of marijuana allowed to 10 grams from 15 grams in Cassidy's plan and impose fines of $100 to $200 instead of $55 to $125.

Rep. Cassidy will be joined by Rev. Alexander Sharp of Clergy for a New Drug Policy and other members of the Illinois faith community who believe the state’s current criminal penalties for marijuana possession are causing harm to their communities.

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