The Urbana City Council has approved an ordinance to lower the fine for possessing less than 30 grams of marijuana from $300 to $50.
The council approved the ordinance last week at a committee-of-the-whole meeting after two amendments failed to get enough support. Members of the public praised the council for making the change in an effort to address the disparate impact of such fines between black and white people. But activist Martel Miller argued that the ordinance won't change the root of the problem: racial profiling by police. The lowered fine came from a recommendation by the city's Illinois Department of Transportation Traffic Stop Task Force to place a moratorium on tickets for cannabis possession given out in traffic stops.