Jacksonville deletes city cannabis ordinance

By Ryne Turke on November 30, 2016 at 7:43am

Say goodbye to the cannabis ordinance Jacksonville aldermen put in place roughly three years ago.

Earlier this month, Police Chief Tony Grootens, Jacksonville Mayor Andy Ezard and Morgan County State’s Attorney Gray Noll held a meeting to discuss the future of cannabis enforcement in the city.

During last night’s meeting, aldermen approved the request from Grootens, Ezard and Noll to delete the local ordinance and allow cannabis cases go to the state court.

Grootens tells WLDS-WEAI News it doesn’t benefit Jacksonville to have an ordinance and a law, especially when the State of Illinois decriminalized possession of small amounts of the drug.  He says the city was just being “redundant”.

“Before it was always illegal for possession of small amounts in Illinois. We amended ours to make it just an ordinance violation. Where it benefited the city before was for first time offenders, by not giving them a criminal record. The new state law does that same thing. It has to be expunged from the state system within six month. It is doing the same thing. The amounts are a little more, it is ten grams compared to what we had at 2.5, but that is the state law and the law of the land we have to live by.”

Grootens says Jacksonville officers haven’t had any problems policing the cannabis, but if an incident pops up, most often it involves possession of a small amount.

“You are always going to have that, but we haven’t seen an influx in possession of it. We haven’t seen an influx in the use of it. The only way you can categorize that is through emergency room calls, stumbling along it at a car wreck or a disturbance call. We aren’t seeing an increase in arrests.”

To hear more from the chief, click below.