The original civil fine for simple marijuana possession in Geneva was $120. The City Council voted to raise the civil fine to $300. The council sees the increased fine as a deterrent for teens that may be caught with marijuana.
In December 2016, the initial fine was put in place to reflect state law changes, according to Kane County Chronicle. Possession of 10 grams of marijuana or less in Illinois is decriminalized, in accordance with Senate Bill 2228. Paraphernalia is also decriminalized.
Police Commander Brian Maduzia said, “Back in July , the state of Illinois downgraded marijuana to a civil offense. The state has the harshest charge, the one with the most teeth to it – you can go to court, you get supervision, it stays on your record – that type of thing. When they took marijuana away from that, they made it a civil charge almost like an ordinance ticket to begin with.”
According to Maduzia, the increased fine means that teens caught with marijuana would have to tell their parents. They’d have to have help coming up with more money.
Maduzia also said, “This increase would allow us to actually have an ordinance that has teeth to it, with a little bit of a higher fine.”
Fourth Ward Alderman Jeanne McGowan supports the increased fine.
McGowan said, “I think this helps parents keep their kids on the right path and say no to drugs.”
Prior to the $300 fine decision, a $500 fine was debated, but was defeated in a 7 – 3 vote. The $300 fine was supported by an 8 – 2 vote. The final vote came at the City Council meeting where the $300 fine was approved it with a 7 – 2 vote.