As a father of three -- ages 11, 6 and 4 -- Ald. Roberto Maldonado (26th) says he just cannot join what he is sure will be a broad City Council majority to decriminalize small amounts of marijuana.

"I am very much against this," Maldonado said Friday, after Mayor Rahm Emanuel's office announced he supports ticketing instead of arresting people caught with less than 15 grams. "For me to support an initiative like this would imply to my kids that the consequences of smoking marijuana are minimal, like ignoring a stop sign."

Emanuel decided that he had waited long enough and should not heed the "just say no" voices like Maldonado's. In giving his blessing to the ticketing proposal, the mayor availed himself of one response to Chicago's rising crime rate and a police force that has shrunk due to budget cuts -- even if it falls far short of providing a far-reaching solution.

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