Marijuana decriminalization bill passes state senate

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SPRINGFIELD, Ill.  -- A marijuana decriminalization bill passed the Illinois State Senate Tuesday.

It removes criminal penalties like jail time for pot possession and drops the number of grams allowed from 15 to 10. It also raises the range of fines from $55 to $125 to between $100 and $200.

It also wouldn't create a criminal record.

The bill, which mirrors one introduced in the house, passed 40 to 14.

It includes amendments Gov Rauner asked for when he vetoed a similar bill last year.

20 states and Washington D.C. have decriminalized marijuana.

The bill also would loosen the state's zero-tolerance policy for driving under the influence. As it stands, a driver can be charged if any trace of marijuana is detected, even if it was ingested weeks before and the driver shows no signs of impairment. Under the newest proposal, drivers would not be charged with a DUI unless they have 5 nanograms or more of THC in their blood, or 10 nanograms or more of THC in their saliva.

The bill now heads to the House.

-Chicago Tribune contributed to this report.


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