Galesburg mayor vows to veto new marijuana law

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Galesburg, Illinois Mayor Sal Garza says he will veto a law passed by the city council that reduces the punishment for small amounts of marijuana.

The Galesburg City Council voted Monday, August 6, 2012 to approve an ordinance that reduces the penalty for people caught with 2.5 grams or less of marijuana. 

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Instead of an arrest, the new law calls for a citation and fine of up to $300.  The fine would go to the city rather than to the state, and that could bring more than $20,000 in revenue to the city. 

Mayor Garza reserved his right to vote on the ordinance at Monday’s council meeting.  He says he will veto the law in its current form, and instead will recommend language “to improve the ordinance.”

Garza says it’s important to clarify that Galesburg is not decriminalizing the use of marijuana.

By not approving the ordinance, the mayor can send it back to the city council for further consideration.  In this case, the marijuana ordinance would be reconsidered by the council at its September 3, 2012 meeting.  Two-thirds of the council (five of the seven members) must vote in favor to pass the ordinance, otherwise the mayor’s veto would stand.

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