Note: Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker signed a bill into law in June 2019 legalizing the recreational use of cannabis by adults, including retail sales beginning on Jan. 1, 2020. The following article covers current law with summaries of provisions under the pending law.
The cultivation, trafficking, sale, or possession of marijuana is a crime in Illinois under the state's Controlled Substances Act. But while laws criminalizing cocaine, heroin, and other hard drugs typically result in felony charges, Illinois marijuana laws are much more lax. For instance, possession of less than 2.5 grams of cannabis is a class C misdemeanor, punishable by a fine. The state also allows the use of medical marijuana for eligible patients, who also are permitted to grow their own medicine.
Cannabis Legalization in Illinois
Illinois lawmakers became the first to legalize the adult (21 and over) use of cannabis through legislation, rather than ballot initiative. The law is slated for enactment on Jan. 1, 2020, with licensed sellers providing the herb at the retail level. However, non-medical users may not cultivate their own cannabis.
The law allows Illinois residents age 21 and over to purchase up to one ounce of flower (dried herb) and up to 5 grams of cannabis concentrate (such as hashish or tincture). Illinois visitors will be able to possess half those amounts. The law allows adults to consume cannabis either in their homes or at certain approved establishments. Businesses and landlords will have the right to refuse its use on their properties.
Also, pre-legalization convictions for marijuana-related offenses (under 30 grams) will be eligible for pardons as long as no violent crimes were committed. Cases will be reviewed by the Prisoner Review Board.
Illinois Marijuana Laws at a Glance
Understanding the law, especially cannabis laws, is no easy task; but it shouldn't require a law degree. Details about current Illinois marijuana laws are listed and referenced in the table below, written in "plain English" for your convenience. The following table will be updated once the state's new cannabis law becomes effective in 2020.
|Code Section||720 ILCS 570/100, et seq., Uniform Controlled Substances Act; 720 ILCS 550/1, et seq. "Cannabis Control Act"|
|Possession||Under 2.5 g.: Class C misdemeanor; 2.5-10 g.: Class B misdemeanor; 10-30 g.: Class A misdemeanor; 30-500 g: Class 4 felony; 500-2,000 g.: Class 3 felony; 2,000-5,000 g.: class 2 felony; >5,000 g.: class 1 felony; Subsequent offense: 10-30 g.: Class 4 felony; 30-500 g.: Class 3 felony; Producing plants: 1-5: Class A misdemeanor; 5-20: Class 4 felony; 20-50: Class 3 felony; Over 50: Class 2 felony with fine up to $100,000|
|Sale||Under 2.5 g.: Class B misdemeanor; 2.5-10 g.: Class A misdemeanor; 10-30 g.: Class 4 felony; 30-500 g.: Class 3 felony and up to $50,000 fine; 500-2,000 g.: Class 2 felony for which a fine not to exceed $100,000 may be imposed; 2,000-5,000 g.: class 1 felony and up to $150.000; >5,000 g.: class X felony and up to $200,000; Enhanced penalties for sale to person 3 yrs. junior or on school grounds|
|Trafficking||Over 2500 g. is trafficking: penalty is double that of sale|
|Medical||Eligible patients with a doctor's recommendation, after registering with the state, may legally consume medical marijuana (Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Pilot Program Act). Individual cultivation is not permitted.
Note: State laws are always subject to change through the passage of new legislation, rulings in the higher courts (including federal decisions), ballot initiatives, and other means. While we strive to provide the most current information available, please consult an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.
If you would like to learn more about Illinois marijuana laws the following links provide additional information:
Get Immediate Legal Help With Your Marijuana Charges
Although attitudes and laws relating to marijuana are increasingly liberalizing across the country, marijuana can still cause an enormous amount of trouble. A drug conviction could cost you your job, public embarrassment, and even result in a jail or prison sentence. If you have been charged with a marijuana-related offense, it's in your best interests to reach out to an Illinois drug crimes attorney.
Contact a qualified attorney.