Aug 21

After the State of Illinois legalized cannabis for recreational use, there were many changes to the laws governing distribution or possession of marijuana. While in-state residents and out-of-state visitors may now purchase cannabis legally, they must do so from state-approved vendors. 

Any person who attempts to circumvent approved processes can face criminal charges, even though cannabis is legal. If two or more people conspire to commit a marijuana crime, everyone involved can face charges for calculated criminal cannabis conspiracy

What is the Illinois Definition of a Cannabis Conspiracy?

720 ILCS 550/9 details the Illinois definition of a calculated criminal cannabis conspiracy. There are two elements to this offense. The first element involves a violation — or an attempted violation — of any of the following criminal statutes:

  • Unlawful possession of cannabis (720 ILCS 550/4) in the amount of 100 to 2,000 grams;
  • Unlawful delivery of cannabis or possession of cannabis with intent to deliver (720 ILCS 550/5) in the amount of 30 to 2,000 grams; or
  • Unlawful production or manufacture of cannabis (720 ILCS 550/8) in the amount of 20 to 200 plants. 

The second element requires that the perpetrator:

  • Conspired with at least one other person to commit the violation or attempted violation; and
  • Obtained anything of value worth more than $500 in connection with the violation or attempted violation. 

How Does Illinois Punish Cannabis Conspiracies?

Section 9 also explains the Illinois punishment for cannabis conspiracies. Under this section, cannabis conspiracies are typically considered Class 3 felonies. If convicted, the perpetrators can face a prison sentence between two and five years as well as criminal fines up to $200,000. 

For certain repeat offenders, however, cannabis conspiracy is punishable as a Class 1 felony. If convicted, repeat offenders can face a prison sentence between four and 15 years as well as criminal fines up to $200,000.

In this context, the term repeat offender applies to any person with at least one previous conviction for:

  • Unlawful possession of cannabis;
  • Unlawful delivery of cannabis or possession of cannabis with intent to deliver;
  • Unlawful production or manufacture of cannabis; or
  • Calculated criminal cannabis conspiracy. 

On top of the criminal penalties above, Section 9 mandates forfeiture of certain assets. More specifically, the co-conspirators must forfeit any income, property, interests, and other rights connected to the cannabis conspiracy in question. 

Do You Need Legal Help?

No matter what the criminal offense, all charges are serious. A sound strategy and an aggressive defense are essential for a positive outcome. To protect your rights in such situations, it is highly advisable to retain legal counsel from an experienced criminal defense attorney.

The Prior Law Firm in Bloomington, Illinois, has proven experience in matters of criminal defense. If you need legal help with criminal defense, contact us today for a free consultation. You can reach The Prior Law Firm by phone at (309) 827-4300, email at or by completing an online form.