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Chicago may decriminalize marijuana

Chicago pot smokers may soon be able to light up without fear of jail time.

Several Windy City councilmen said Thursday they plan to introduce a local law that would decriminalize possession of small amounts of marijuana in order to cut costs and free up police to handle more serious crimes.

Chicago police make about 23,000 arrests each year for possession of the drug, a misdemeanor which nevertheless carries stiff punishment of up to six months in jail, a $1,500 fine and a criminal record.

Under the new law set to be introduced next week, people caught with less than 10 grams of marijuana would instead face a $200 fine and up to 10 hours of community service.

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