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Mayor backs decriminalizing marijuana

Some changes could be coming to Chicago's marijuana laws.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel says he will support a new ordinance to reduce the penalty for possession of small amounts of marijuana.

The proposal is expected to be introduced by Ald. Danny Solis (25th). He is in favor of the measure because he says, it would free up police officers to focus on more serious crimes, such as gang activity involving guns and homicides.

The Sun-Times reports that the proposal applies to 15 grams of pot, or less.

Police officers could write tickets of up to $500  under the plan.

As the law stands now, pot possession is a misdemeanor punishable by up to six months in jail and a $1,500 fine.

Earlier today the Mayor issued a statement saying:

The new ordinance "Allows us to observe the law while reducing the processing time for minor possession of marijuana."

Most people WGN spoke with on the street today are in support of the changes.  Several of them said, it's more important for police to focus on crime and gang violence.

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun