Legislation to decriminalize possession of small amounts of marijuana has passed the Illinois Senate.
Lawmakers voted 37-19 Thursday to make possession of 15 grams or less of marijuana a civil violation punishable by fines between $55 and a $125. Violators would not face jail time.
It will be sent to Gov. Bruce Rauner’s desk after a second bill passes to address concerns, including allowing court clerks to expunge records of those who were fined.
Marijuana advocacy and civil liberties groups see the effort as step toward broader marijuana decriminalization. Some Republican lawmakers object to it for the same reason.
Rep. Kelly Cassidy is the original sponsor. She has said the measure isn’t about decriminalization, but addressing racial disparities in enforcing marijuana possession.