Dec 21

With Michigan already on course to regulate the commercial sale of recreational marijuana, Illinois seems to be in second place in this race between Midwest states, reported the Chicago Tribune.

As of December 6th, Michigan officially legalized the recreational use of marijuana. The state has yet to roll out a comprehensive scheme for regulation, licensure, or taxation. As a result, Michigan does not yet offer any establishments that are licensed to sell recreational marijuana legally.

In the meantime, there is a lot of momentum in Illinois to legalize marijuana as well as regulate its commercial sale and purchase. Legalization advocates hope that this change will happen by late 2019 or early 2020, especially with the public support of Governor J.B. Pritzker and certain members of the General Assembly.

At this point in time, however, it is important to remember that marijuana remains largely illegal in Illinois. Until the General Assembly passes legislation to legalize recreational use, it is unlawful to possess or deliver marijuana. Furthermore, as Michigan has demonstrated, it could take some time for Illinois to figure out how to regulate the commercial sale and taxation of legal marijuana.

Possession of Marijuana in Illinois

As outlined in 720 ILCS 550/4, Illinois law prohibits the possession of marijuana. In order for criminal penalties to apply, a person must know — or have a reason to know — that they possess marijuana. In most cases, Illinois punishes possession of marijuana results with a criminal fine or misdemeanor charges.

Delivery of Marijuana in Illinois

As explained in 720 ILCS 550/5 Illinois law prohibits any person from knowingly delivering marijuana. State law defines delivery as any attempt to transfer possession of marijuana. It does not matter whether there is an exchange of money between the parties. If a person knowingly delivers marijuana, they can face misdemeanor or even felony charges.

Medical Use of Marijuana in Illinois

There is a major exception to Illinois marijuana laws for medical use. Under the Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Pilot Program Act, Illinois allows certain patients with debilitating conditions to use marijuana. If a licensed physician prescribes medical marijuana as part of an approved treatment plan, the patient can register with the state to purchase and use marijuana legally.

Similarly, Illinois law allows approved entities to manufacture and deliver medical marijuana. If the entity in question satisfies all of the state requirements, then they can manufacture and sell medical marijuana to patients with the proper registration requirements.

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.

(image courtesy of amritanshu-sikdar)