Marijuana in Illinois
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Marijuana in Illinois: A Better Law
Dear Friends and Colleagues,
As you may recall, Clergy for a New Drug Policy held a press conference in December 2015 to support legislation that would replace criminal penalties with civil sanctions for low-level marijuana possession in Illinois. The General Assembly has now passed SB 2228. In this newsletter, we provide the opportunity for clergy to urge Governor Rauner to sign this legislation.
In addition, I am pleased to introduce to you in this newsletter the Rev. Saeed Richardson, CNDP's new Project Coordinator.

Rev. Alexander E. Sharp
Executive Director, Clergy for a New Drug Policy
Illinois Clergy to Governor:
Time to Sign
The Rev. Myron McCoy, joined by clergy at December 11, 2015 press conference calling for passage of legislation to replace criminal with civil penalties for low-level possession of marijuana in Illinois.

By Rev. Alexander E. Sharp 

Once again, Illinois is on the cusp of providing civil enforcement, not criminal penalties, for the possession of low-level amounts of marijuana. SB 2228 (see fact sheet), which passed the General Assembly on May 18, now sits on Governor Rauner’s desk – for a second time.

If Governor Rauner signs the legislation, Illinois would become the 21st state to stop jailing individuals for low-level marijuana possession. The General Assembly passed a similar bill over a year ago. The Governor blocked it with an amendatory veto.

It is critical that Illinois clergy communicate to the Governor their strong, continued support for the current bill by signing the letter included here.

SB 2228 responds to the Governor’s insistence on a higher fine, and a reduction in the amount of marijuana that can be legally possessed. It continues to reflect our critical concerns that current marijuana laws “undermine an individual’s access to employment, education, public assistance, and housing,” are “highly discriminatory against people of color, and divert resources from “more urgent enforcement priorities.”

Clergy, please join us in urging Governor Rauner to sign the legislation now before him.
Read More
Illinois Clergy: Sign Letter to Gov. Rauner
Staff Announcements
Rev. Saeed Richardson
By Rev. Alexander E. Sharp

I wish to express my gratitude to Rev. Kathryn Ray, who has served as CNDP project coordinator for the past 8 months. Kathryn received her ordination in the American Baptist Churches on May 31 and has accepted the full-time position of Pastor of Discipleship at North Shore Baptist Church in Chicago. We are pleased that she will continue to blog for CNDP as time permits. We have benefited greatly from her theological and policy insights, and her technical skill in managing our on-line publications.  

I am also pleased to announce that Rev. Saeed Richardson will take over as project coordinator on June 15. Saeed is in the final year the University of Chicago’s joint degree program offered by the Divinity School and the School of Social Service Administration.

He brings a broad range of experience as a pastor and administrator in medical school settings. He has served as chaplain with the Office of Religious Services at the Cook County Jail, and is currently a ministerial associate at the Faith Community of St. Sabina and Greater Bethesda Missionary Baptist Church on Chicago’s south side.
Copyright © 2016 Clergy for a New Drug Policy, All rights reserved.

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