Nov 24

Several Illinois doctors have banded together to form Physicians Against Injurious Narcotics (PAIN) to advocate for the replacement of opioids with marijuana, according to an article by the Chicago Tribune.

The PAIN doctors have seen the devastating effects of prescribing opioids for pain. They also cited data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, indicating that 40 people die each day from opioid medications. This is the type of danger that has Illinois and federal health officials warning of a public emergency.

Specifically, the PAIN doctors have thrown their collective weight behind new legislation in Illinois. The premise is simple; give patients a choice. For any patient qualified to receive opioid medication, the PAIN doctors feel that medical marijuana should be provided as an option as well.

At this point in time, Illinois law allows certain patients to use medical marijuana. But the program is strict, with a limited number of eligible conditions. The PAIN doctors would like to see the Illinois medical marijuana program expand from the existing 27,000 participants.

Among other changes, the proposed legislation would remove fingerprinting and criminal background checks from medical marijuana requirements. The approval process would also see streamlined changes. Instead of 60 to 90 days for processing, the proposed legislation would institute a 14-day turnaround requirement.

In light of the PAIN doctors’ desired changes to the law, it feels like a perfect time to review Illinois laws concerning marijuana, also known as cannabis.

How Does Illinois Approach Medical Marijuana?

Under the Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Pilot Program Act (the Act), Illinois established a legal mechanism for medical marijuana. Codified as 410 ILCS 130, the Act allows individuals suffering from any of 40 debilitating conditions to use marijuana for medical purposes. The debilitating conditions include Alzheimer’s disease, HIV/AIDS and Rheumatoid Arthritis, among others.

Under the Act, applicants must have written documentation from their existing doctor to qualify for medical marijuana. Additionally, the applicants must apply for and receive a medical cannabis registry identification card to lawfully purchase, possess and consume medical marijuana.

What Are the Penalties in Illinois for Unlawful Possession of Marijuana?

Unless an individual holds a valid medical cannabis registry identification card, it is unlawful to possess marijuana in any amount. Possession of:

  • Less than 10 grams is a civil law violation, punishable by a fine;
  • 10 grams to 30 grams is a Class B misdemeanor;
  • 30 grams to 100 grams  is a Class A misdemeanor;
  • 100 grams to 500 grams  is a Class 4 felony;
  • 500 grams to 2,000 grams  is a Class 3 felony;
  • 2,000 grams to 5,000 grams is a Class 2 felony; and
  • More than 5,000 grams is a Class 1 felony.

Do You Need Legal Advice from an Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney?

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 or online by completing a simple form.

(image courtesy of Esteban Lopez)