In an effort to free up police officers and reduce processing times at its jails, the city of Chicago has decided to fine residents rather than arrest them for carrying less than fifteen grams of marijuana. The new policy is scheduled to formally begin on August 4th, allowing officers a little over a month to learn the new rules.

According to CNN, fines will be dished out on a sliding scale between $250 and $500 depending on the amount the perpetrator was carrying. Kids sixteen years and under will still be immediately arrested for possessing weed, as will anyone who brings it to a school or a park. It’s unclear how any type of appeal might work, but one would imagine, at least in the short term, offenders will be so pleased about not being jailed that they’ll fork over the punishment without too much backtalk.

Since President Obama’s Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel took over, Chicago has tightened its purse strings and become more efficient. Unfortunately, the murder rate is on the rise a bit. This new policy should allow authorities to focus on actually keeping the public safe rather than hunting down potheads and other low priority cases.

If you believe the goal of any city is to keep its citizens safe and not enforce morality, you should be pleased with where Chicago is headed. If you believe weed is a societal blight that needs to be rooted out, you can go ahead and write the city council, or you can try weed for the first time and realize it's really not threatening to anything other than productivity.

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