Pubdate: Fri, 05 Aug 2011
Source: Chicago Sun-Times (IL)
Copyright: 2011 Sun-Times Media, LLC
Author: Ken Sain


I applaud Cook County President Toni Preckwinkle and your editorial
supporting the decriminalization of marijuana in Cook County.

My father, Frank Sain, when he was sheriff of Cook County, championed
this effort in 1960. Like today, too many are seeking to keep the
prohibition for untenable reasons. He served in the criminal justice
system for more than 30 years, beginning as a guard. He became the
warden of both the county and city jails before becoming sheriff.

He saw firsthand the injustice of treating most cannabis users as
criminals and incarcerating them in jails. He also championed the need
to take the criminal profits out from cannabis sales by making
tolerable limits available through medical and pharmacy authorizations
(this alone would reduce the threat of other more serious crimes
against the public).

One of the biggest problems causing the exploding jail populations in
Cook County in the 1950s was that the city passed ordinances imposing
fines of up to $5,000 for possession of marijuana, which meant a
person would work off the fine by spending more than 2 1/2 years in
jail. The jail population doubled. A lot of hardened criminals, who
all of us want removed from our streets, don't serve this much time
for thier crimes, which threaten the public more. Let's get it
straight for once, and do the right thing.

Ken Sain

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