You may be surprised to hear this, but it is now impossible for you to go to jail for small possessions of marijuana — in Urbana. This past Monday the Urbana City Council passed an ordinance requiring that all small possessions be handled as city ordinance tickets punishable by a fine only. This means no jail time and no state charge. There has been little to no media coverage of the drafting of this ordinance and very little public discussion. The only online reference to this ordinance is a brief mention in the September 15th City Council Agenda=, as the 14th item. No minutes or any other information is provided on the website.
While decriminalization of marijuana has not been shown to lead to an increase in marijuana consumption, this ordinance does reflect a tolerance of marijuana use. Does this ordinance pave the way for wider acceptance of cannabis in the area, or is this just another case of “those crazy Urbana liberals” getting their way? And why hasn’t anyone reported this ordinance in any of the local papers? I for one would like to see a healthy public discussion of this issue — not more reasons to ignore it.