Expunge small-time pot convictions if it’s legalized
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As the state of Illinois discusses legalizing recreational use of marijuana, it is important to also discuss what must accompany the conversation.
I am not opposed to the legalization of marijuana (I am a child of the 1960s and, yes, I inhaled). With the bill for legalization, there must also be a bill dismissing convictions against individuals still incarcerated for selling marijuana, unless it is massive quantity, and expungement of their records and the records of those who already are out of prison. Not just for those in the last two years but for all who were ever convicted.
Also, with the consideration of legalization, there must be an aggressive commitment and concrete plan to equal the unequal playing field of the West and South sides with investment and opportunity.
Where marijuana has been legalized, often the arrests of white youth have decreased while the arrests of black youth have increased. Why? Because for white youth in the middle and upper-middle classes, marijuana is indeed considered truly recreational. In neglected and abandoned communities, where many black and brown youth live and unemployment is in double digits, possession of marijuana is considered a job! Thus, youth are arrested because of larger quantities in their possession.
Until we can promise release and expungement, and deal with the high unemployment in abandoned and neglected communities, legalization really needs to be put on hold.
In the pursuit of justice ….
Rev. Michael L. Pfleger, Faith Community of St. Sabina, Auburn-Gresham
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Why rent control would fail
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I do know that it didn’t work out well. You want to control the income of landlords, but will you also control their taxes and maintenance costs? What will probably happen is that you will see a mass conversion of rental apartments into condos.
People become landlords to make money. If you make that more difficult, they will adapt. And you will end up with fewer apartments to rent. And people will still be displaced.
Larry Craig, Wilmette
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Daniel Pupo, Orland Park
Give tax breaks on mortgage interest to those who need it
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Lee Knohl, Evanston