Illinois is decriminalised, but what happens next?

Posted on August 01 2016

For the past couple of years, Chicago’s violent crime problems have been gradually on the rise. The rest of the state, Illinois, has also followed its largest city and suffered from a rise in crime. The violent crime rate in Illinois stands at 380 violent crimes per 100,000 people making it the 20th most dangerous state in the nation, however, what is more worrying is that this figure is still on the rise.

The decriminalisation and potential for future legalisation of marijuana may be a great proactive step towards defeating certain types of crime. Violent crimes such as robberies, both armed and unarmed, as well as assaults and murders may correlate directly with drug possession and sale on many occasions, meaning that decriminalisation, with a view of possible legalisation, of marijuana may see a drop in drug-related crime.

Marijuana decriminalisation also means that innocent people who just like to smoke weed will not have to suffer from a criminal record for possession of the essentially harmless plant. Arrests for minor ‘crimes’ such as marijuana possession can make it infinitely harder for a person to get a job and in turn, perhaps lead to them either committing more crimes or become disillusioned with the country and finding ‘alternative’ ways to generate income.

The Governor who signed this bill was Bruce Rauner, a Republican, which is the latest in a long line of Republican politicians showing more sympathetic views in terms of marijuana usage. Rauner was quoted as saying “criminal prosecution of cannabis possession is also a drain on public resources,” a sentiment shared by many for a long period of time, however, it is nice to see politicians from across the board mirroring and accepting this truth. It also seems somewhat progressive to see Republicans purveying more liberal, some would say rational, viewpoints and taking steps to remedy some of the flaws in the country’s legal system.



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