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Thursday, Sept. 8, 2016 12:05 am


The Springfield City Council this week loosened a local law against synthetic marijuana, commonly called K2, even as Illinois and other states are cracking down on the substance said to be more dangerous than real pot. A state law took effect this year aimed at stamping out the synthetic scourge – possession of K2 has been a felony in Illinois since 2012, but existing law had loopholes. In Springfield, however, a cop can write it up as a civil infraction with a $300 fine. The ordinance that passed Tuesday was billed by corporation counsel Jim Zerkle as a measure that would bring Springfield, which decriminalized pot in 2009, in line with the state’s recent pot decriminalization measure, which makes possession of up to 10 grams of marijuana a civil offense. The city’s 2009 ordinance had set the threshold at 2.5 grams, and so the council on Tuesday unanimously upped the amount to 10 grams to match the state statute, at the same time increasing the threshold for K2 by an identical amount. The city had added K2 to its pot decriminalization ordinance in 2010, before the state banned the substance, and the local law hadn’t been revisited until this week. Ward 8 Ald. Kris Theilen, who pushed the city to take action against K2 in 2010, said he relied on assurances from Zerkle that the ordinance passed Tuesday simply matched state law. “I would want to revisit that,” Theilen said after the meeting when told that he and other aldermen had just made a city drug ordinance considerably looser than state law. Zerkle said that he wasn’t prepared to answer questions after Tuesday’s meeting, and he could not be reached the following morning.


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