Ticketing for marijuana to raise money

CHICAGO - A Chicago alderman says he's found a way for the city to raise desperately needed cash that will also keep more police officers on the street: Marijuana.

Alderman Danny Solis introduced an ordinance to the City Council on Wednesday making possession of small amounts of marijuana a ticketable offense with a $200 fine rather than a misdemeanor that carries jail time.

He estimates the change would generate $7 million a year and would save police and courthouse workers money and thousands of hours of time.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel hasn't endorsed the ordinance, but says he's instructed the police superintendent to study it.

Similar laws exist elsewhere in the U.S., but unlike places where the debate centers on marijuana use, the focus in Chicago has been almost entirely on money.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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