Cannabis Ordinance In Galesburg Could Change - News and Weather For The Quad Cities -

Cannabis Ordinance In Galesburg Could Change



The city of Galesburg could adjust their cannabis ordinance as city leaders discussed those changes with the first reading of a proposal.

The proposed amendment to the cannabis ordinance would not change the rules. You still wouldn't be allowed to possess marijuana or drug paraphernalia. What would change are the consequences and who collects the fine.

Right now, possession of up to 2.5 grams of cannabis and possession of drug paraphernalia are both covered under state law. Both are considered misdemeanors, and the state gets the money from the fines and court costs.

Under Galesburg's proposed ordinance, possession of that small amount of marijuana and paraphernalia would essentially be decriminalized. That would be considered a 'violation' with each subject to a $300 fine. Officials estimate that could generate an extra 20 to 30 thousand dollars a year in revenue for the city but more than that, some aldermen say, it is the right thing to do by making the punishment for minor infractions more appropriate:

"It gives a police officer an opportunity to let there be a consequence for behavior, but not the long term serious consequences that a state charge and conviction would bring," said Ald. Jermy Karlin.

"It's not legalizing marijuana," said Ald. Corine Andersen. "It's giving our police a tool for enforcement that makes sense and provides a source of revenue for the city."

Now this is not the first time Galesburg leaders have taken a look at the cannabis ordinance. Last year, city council approved changes that would have the city collecting fines for possessing small amounts of marijuana but the then-mayor Sal Garza vetoed it.  There's a new mayor this time around, and city leaders say nationally and locally, attitudes about cannabis are changing. 

City council unanimously approved the first reading of the ordinance. The final vote on it is set for their next regular meeting after the start of the new year. 


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