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The Reefer Reader

Our stash of reporting on marijuana laws and politics

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Chicago's doobie brothers: Rahm 'n' Danny decriminalize reefer!

Mayor Rahm takes a step toward saner reefer policy, so, gulp, we've got to give him credit.
–Ben Joravsky (June 15, 2012)

Rahm backs changes to pot policy

Even Rahm Emanuel is conceding that something's wrong with current pot laws.
–Mick Dumke (June 14, 2012)

Mayor Emanuel stands pat on pot

A week after most of New York's political heavyweights got behind a plan to decriminalize low-level marijuana possession, the sky still hasn't fallen.
–Mick Dumke (June 14, 2012)

Chicago's crime problem: A matter of "perception"

If Chicago's crime problem is only a matter of "perception," then why are police being asked to work extra patrols on their days off?
–Mick Dumke (June 13, 2012)

The politics of drug busts

At just before 9 PM last Friday night, the Chicago Police Department sent out an e-mail announcing the takedown of a drug market at Ohio and Hamlin in west Humboldt Park.
–Mick Dumke (May 1, 2012)

Everyone wants to legalize reefer, except for people with the power to do it!

Congressman Barney Frank joins the chorus for saner marijuana laws.
–Ben Joravsky (April 30, 2012)

Rahm Emanuel declares another war on drugs

The first time I heard a police officer argue that the war on drugs wasn't working was in 1994.
–Mick Dumke (March 27, 2012)

Toni Preckwinkle, Ken Davis, and I talk marijuana

When it comes to marijuana, Toni Preckwinkle and I almost see eye-to-eye.
–Ben Joravsky (March 23, 2012)

Nixon, Robertson, and reefer

Looks like it will take the Republicans to end the war on drugs.
–Ben Joravsky (March 9, 2012)

The land of lockups

Maybe there are some upsides to going broke.When Governor Pat Quinn recently proposed closing two state prisons, it was just the latest instance of budget problems accomplishing what human rights advocates haven't been able to.
–Mick Dumke (March 7, 2012)

Cook county state's attorney pans marijuana decriminalization

The latest to hedge is Cook County state's attorney Anita Alvarez, who says she's opposed to "decriminalizing" or legalizing marijuana possession even though budget cuts have left her office stretched thin.
–Mick Dumke (February 29, 2012)

Talking reefer in the land of Antonin Scalia

Mick and Ben go to the University of Chicago to talk about marijuana.
–Ben Joravsky (February 28, 2012)

No movement in sight for marijuana reforms

City officials have tabled a proposal to reform marijuana laws.
–Mick Dumke (February 16, 2012)

Former police chief blasts pot busts

Weis says it's time to come up with new policies for pot possession.
–Mick Dumke (January 6, 2012)

Reefer in Evanston, Probcause, and only a few words about Mayor Rahm

Probcause will perform tonight at the Mid, but he will not be rapping about decriminalizing reefer in his hometown of Evanston.
–Ben Joravsky (December 28, 2011)

Toni Preckwinkle's plan to shrink the jail population

Toni Preckwinkle wants to get people out of Cook County jail. She also wants to keep them from going there in the first place. And in the cases where people have to be locked up, Preckwinkle would prefer they limit their stay and not return.
–Mick Dumke (December 22, 2011)

Big hitter fights for medical marijuana

The best headline of the day, from KRTV in Great Falls, Montana:Christ files lawsuit over Montana medical marijuana law.
–Mick Dumke (December 15, 2011)

Today's marijuana lesson comes from New York City

How Chicago can take a cue from New York City on pot possession.
–Mick Dumke (December 9, 2011)

Why are blacks busted more often for pot?

Why are blacks busted more often for pot?
–Steve Bogira (December 9, 2011)

A Reader poll on legalizing reefer, and not one word about Mayor Rahm

A survey on marijuana legalization in Chicago: Guess what –Ben Joravsky (December 8, 2011)

Father Pfleger: end the pot possession busts!

Father Pfleger: end the pot possession busts!
–Mick Dumke (December 5, 2011)

The Politics of Pot

Are our politicians too paranoid to decriminalize marijuana?.
–Mick Dumke and Ben Joravsky (December 1, 2011)

The reefer solution

Legislation from state Rep. La Shawn Ford would reform marijuana laws.
–Mick Dumke and Ben Joravsky (December 1, 2011)

Cannabis crusader

Two decades later, James Gierach is still campaigning against pot prohibition.
–Mick Dumke and Ben Joravsky (December 1, 2011)

Evanston decriminalizes reefer!

Evanston decriminalized marijuana, but for whom?
–Ben Joravsky (November 30, 2011)

Marijuana has City Hall buzzing

While a number of aldermen and Mayor Rahm Emanuel were discussing the possibility of decriminalizing marijuana Wednesday, First Ward alderman Joe Moreno went a step further, becoming one of the few Chicago city officials to openly argue that the real solution is legalization.
–Mick Dumke (November 2, 2011)

Pols speak out on pot bust reform: "This is what's right"

In a press conference that was unthinkable just a short time ago, several county and city officials Thursday morning vowed to push for changes in local and state law that would make low-level possession of marijuana punishable – tickets instead of arrests.
–Mick Dumke (October 27, 2011)

County and city officials to call for change in pot bust policy

Cook County commissioner John Fritchey and three Chicago aldermen will hold a press conference Thursday morning to call on Chicago and suburban police to issue tickets instead of making arrests for the possession of small amounts of marijuana.
–Mick Dumke (October 26, 2011)

Mayor and police chief look for efficiencies ... except in pot policy

Mayor Rahm Emanuel and police Superintendent Garry McCarthy announced this morning that they're transferring more cops to beat patrols, there– fulfilling Emanuel's campaign pledge to put 1,000 additional officers on the street.
–Mick Dumke (October 6, 2011)

The $78 million bag

That's what Cook County spent last year on weed (or to arrest and prosecute those possessing it).
–Mick Dumke and Ben Joravsky (October 6, 2011)

Police to lighten up on pot possessors ... maybe

Chicago police Superintendent Garry McCarthy can't decide between cracking down or letting up on low-level pot possessions.
–Mick Dumke and Ben Joravsky (August 11, 2011)

What is pot prosecution good for?

Little rhyme or reason in reefer cases.
–Mick Dumke and Ben Joravsky (August 11, 2011)

Chicago police chief says no to decriminalizing pot possession

If Chicago's top cop has his way, marijuana possession is not going to be decriminalized anytime soon around here.
–Mick Dumke (July 30, 2011)

As Preckwinkle renews call to decriminalize pot possession, police arguing amongst themselves

Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle made headlines again yesterday when she reiterated what she'd told us a few weeks ago: it's time for the Chicago Police Department to stop arresting people for possessing small amounts of marijuana.
–Mick Dumke (July 28, 2011)

Pot busts of the week

Let's find out how America's limitless tax dollars are being used!
–Lauri Apple (July 8, 2011)

The grass gap

People all over Chicago smoke pot, but almost everyone busted for it is black.
–Mick Dumke and Ben Joravsky (July 7, 2011)

Pot busts of the week: delivery problems

Maybe this explains why people aren't using the postal service like they used to: "Middletown police say the search is over for the main suspect who was attempting to receive more than 56 pounds of marijuana through the mail."
–Mick Dumke (June 24, 2011)

Pot busts of the week: the dangers of asking for directions, spending your own cash, and grabbing a burger to go

A roundup of pot busts from around the country.
–Mick Dumke (June 17, 2011)

Medical marijuana is already legal in Illinois

And it has been for three decades. But it'll take the passage of another law to make it available to patients.
–Claire Thompson (April 8, 2010)

Busted!

It was only a matter of time before the Muffin Lady would get caught for selling pot-laced treats along with her fresh bread and crocheted blankets. Wicker Park just isn't safe for hustlers anymore.
–Mike Sula (November 4, 2004)

Group efforts: the return of the pot fest

Caren Thomas and Jim Patton run May's Hemp Fest, Peace Fest, and the Lost Harvest Fest.
–Cara Jepsen (October 11, 2001)

Boogie Bob vs the Buzz Killers

Michigan's Best Hope for the Busted.
–Ted Kleine (June 29, 2000)

Group efforts: stay on the grass

Pot activist Rich –rne seeks to bring pot,and the decriminalization movement, a new respectability.
–Alex Jokay (May 9, 1996)

Hard Time

Mike Fusco's crime: building electrical panels for the wrong client. His punishment: ten years, no parole. His problem: mandatory minimun sentencing.
–Adam Langer (June 1, 1995)

Just say OK

The war on drugs is a joke, says gubernatorial candidate James Gierach. Time for a cease-fire and a new strategy.
–David Moberg (February 17, 1994)

How to win the war on drugs

End it. Legalize them. It's an idea whose time is coming.
–Eric Scigliano (November 17, 1988)

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