December 5, 2019

Statement from Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot and Interim Superintendent Charlie Beck

Mayor's Press Office    312.744.3334

"Righting this City's generation-old wrongs and overturning the unjust, cannabis enforcement laws of our past has been at the heart of our efforts since day one, which is why we've taken the important step forward in reducing overly punitive fines and fees for minor cannabis violations by passing a smart, sensible and safe cannabis enforcement ordinance that truly prioritizes public safety of all residents in this City.

While the state law prohibits cannabis consumption in a "public place," which is defined as anywhere you can be observed by others in the public, the Chicago Police Department recognizes that an individual using cannabis in their own backyard or balcony poses no direct threat to public safety, and no resident should be arrested or ticketed solely for such a scenario. Any characterization to the contrary is simply wrong. Over the past several months and throughout December, all 13,000 of Chicago's police officers are being trained on the reformed cannabis enforcement laws, including how they should use discretion of their enforcement powers to educate residents on the new legalization laws, rather than issuing tickets as a default response.

As we prepare for legalization next year, the Mayor's Office and CPD are wholeheartedly committed to working in partnership with Chicago’s community advocates and leaders to ensure that the days of unfair and unequal targeted enforcement for low-level cannabis violations have come to an end."