CPD to officers: No tickets for pot consumption on porches, in yards

The department issued a new directive less than two weeks before recreational marijuana use becomes legal in Illinois.

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Adult recreational marijuana use becomes legal in Illinois on Jan. 1.

AP file

Now it’s in writing.

The Chicago Police Department issued a new edict to officers Thursday instructing them to not issue citations to people whose “sole violation” is using marijuana on porches, patios, balconies or in backyards.

Adult recreational marijuana use becomes legal in Illinois on Jan. 1. A caveat of the law stipulates that pot use in “any public place” is still prohibited.

The new directive comes two weeks after the CPD said people could still be ticketed for using marijuana in backyards or on porches or balconies visible to the public when the drug is legalized.

Mayor Lori Lightfoot and interim CPD Supt. Charlie Beck subsequently issued a statement that said the 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.”

The directive also says if a person arrested for an “unrelated offense,” such as retail theft, has a legal amount of marijuana on their person at the time of the arrest then the marijuana will be inventoried as personal property instead of recovered narcotics. Arrestees will be able to pick up their marijuana at the Evidence and Recovered Property Section at the CPD’s Homan Square facility.

As of Jan. 1, adults 21 or older can possess up to 30 grams of cannabis flower, 500 mg of THC in a cannabis-infused product and 5 grams of cannabis concentrate.

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