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Chicago Pot Ordinance In Effect: 11 Tickets Issued Over First Weekend

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CHICAGO POT ORDINANCE
A man smokes a joint or marijuana cigarette during a march in favor of the legalization of marijuana in Mexico City, Saturday, May 5, 2012. (AP Photo/Marco Ugarte) | AP

Chicago's brand new marijuana ticketing ordinance went into effect over the weekend, leaving 11 alleged pot smokers with a big bill to pay.

Chicago police officers wrote 11 tickets since the ordinance became enforceable on Saturday, the Chicago Sun-Times reports.

The paper reports that the tickets were issued throughout the city, none of them at or near the Lollapalooza music festival in Grant Park, despite some speculation that the two coinciding events could have led to a surge of tickets -- or, more accurately, arrests. Because the festival took place on city Park District property, arrests were still allowable and the ordinance didn't technically apply.

Two people inside the Lollapalooza grounds did, in fact, get busted for marijuana possession, Chicago police told WBEZ, and were presumably arrested. At the previous year's festival, no marijuana-related arrests were reported.

All those ticketed over the weekend will be forced to pay a fine of at least $250 under the ordinance approved 43-3 by Chicago's City Council earlier this summer.

The ordinance allows officers to write a ticket for up to $500 for possessing as much as 15 grams of marijuana, or about 15 marijuana cigarettes.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel previously lauded the ordinance as allowing the city to "observe the law, while reducing the processing time for minor possession of marijuana - ultimately freeing up police officers for the street."

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