Jul 28

With a statewide budget crisis in full swing, Illinois legislators are mulling over the legalization and taxation of marijuana as a potential solution, according to an article by DNAinfo.

Separate bills proposed by State Senator Heather Steans and State Representative Kelly Cassidy both advocate for the legalization of marijuana, commonly referred to as cannabis in Illinois law. The bills would allow adults to “possess, grow, and buy small amounts of marijuana.”

Voting on both bills was intentionally delayed until the start of the next legislative session in January. This delay will give legislators a chance to research and solicit feedback in advance of voting.

Despite the proposed legislation, it is important to remember that cannabis remains illegal in Illinois. That is why we will explore Illinois laws governing cannabis in the sections below.

What are the Laws in Illinois Concerning Cannabis?

The Cannabis Control Act (the Act) outlines the Illinois rules and regulations concerning cannabis. Codified as 720 ILCS 550, the Act recognizes that “the use of cannabis occupies the unusual position of being widely used and pervasive among the citizens of Illinois despite its harmful effects.”

As a result, the Act establishes a “reasonable penalty system” for cannabis-related offenses, with penalties escalating for larger offenses. The intent is clear. Illinois focuses its cannabis control efforts on “commercial traffickers and large-scale purveyors of cannabis.”

Overall, Illinois applies relatively lax penalties for possession of small amounts of cannabis. But the Illinois courts have wide discretion to increase penalties for repeat offenses and possession or trafficking of large amounts of cannabis.

What are the Penalties for Possession of Cannabis?

Section 720 ILCS 550/4 of the Act details the penalties for possession of cannabis:

  • Possession of less than 10 grams of cannabis is a civil law violation, punishable by a maximum fine of $200.
  • Possession of 10 grams to 30 grams of cannabis is a Class B misdemeanor.
  • Possession of 30 grams to 100 grams of cannabis is a Class A misdemeanor for the first offense and a Class 4 felony for subsequent offenses.
  • Possession of 100 grams to 500 grams of cannabis is a Class 4 felony for the first offense and a Class 3 felony for subsequent offenses.
  • Possession of 500 grams to 2,000 grams of cannabis is a Class 3 felony.
  • Possession of 2,000 grams to 5,000 grams of cannabis is a Class 2 felony.
  • Possession of more than 5,000 grams of cannabis is a Class 1 felony.

It should be noted that Illinois does have a mechanism in place for medical marijuana. Individuals who are approved for medical marijuana are subject to different guidelines.

Do You Need Legal Advice?

No matter what the criminal offense, all criminal charges are serious. Without a sound strategy and an aggressive defense, you could miss out on your best chance for a positive outcome. An experienced criminal defense attorney can help you understand the law and navigate toward an effective resolution.

Serving the counties of Dewitt, Ford, Livingston, Logan, McLean, Peoria, Tazewell, and Woodford, The Prior Law Firm is located in Bloomington, Illinois. Our attorneys are dedicated to the practice of Illinois criminal law. If you need legal advice concerning any criminal offense, please do not hesitate to contact us immediately. You can reach The Prior Law Firm by phone at (309) 827-4300, email at johnprior@thepriorlawfirm.com or online by completing a simple form.

(image courtesy of Get Budding)