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Photo: M. Spencer Green/AP
Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart: “We will act as we always have, which is arrest”

‚ÄčNearly a year after the Cook County Board passed an ordinance allowing sheriff’s police to ticket marijuana smokers for minor possession instead of arresting them, officers still haven’t written the first ticket.

“The ordinance gives us the discretion to choose,” said Steve Patterson, a spokesman for Sheriff Tom Dart. “So we’ll choose to continue acting as we always have, which is arrest.”
County commissioners made headlines last July when they passed the ordinance that gives officers the choice to either arrest people in unincorporated areas possessing 10 grams or less of marijuana, or to hand out tickets for $200 within the county’s unincorporated areas, reports William Lee of the Chicago Tribune.
The ordinance came into being after Commissioner Earleen Collins’s grandson was arrested for possessing half a joint.
The ordinance, which was supported by marijuana legalization advocates, first ran aground after a county board committee rejected Sheriff Dart’s request to extend the discretionary ticket-writing power to wherever sheriff’s officers patrol. This would have included suburban Ford Heights, which Dart’s office patrols because the town doesn’t have its own police force.