What is the Cannabis Law in Illinois?

by Sami Z Azhari on March 17, 2016

Illinois Cannabis Laws

Cannabis, more commonly known as marijuana, is illegal in the state of Illinois. Despite the Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Pilot Program Act (410 ILCS 130/1) becoming effective as of January 2014, recreational use, distribution, and sale of marijuana in any quantity remains a crime in the State of Illinois. Many people downplay the severity of being charged with a marijuana offense, though such a conviction can have a significant impact on your personal and professional life.

The punishments associated with marijuana possession vary depending on the quantity of marijuana involved, the amount of previous convictions the offender has, and where/how it is being sold to others, if the charge is for delivery of marijuana. According to 720 ILCS 550/4, the sentencing guidelines are as follows:

  • Up to 2.5 grams – Class C Misdemeanor -$1,500 fine and/or up to 30 days in jail;
  • 2.5-10 grams – Class B Misdemenor – $1,500 fine and/or up to 6 months in jail;
  • 10-30 grams – Class A Misdemeanor – $2,500 fine and up to 1 year in jail for a first offense. Subsequent offenses are class 4 felonies with fines up to $25,000 and 1 to three years in jail.
  • 30-500 grams – Class 4 felony – $25,000 fine and 1 to 3 years in jail for a first offense. Subsequent offenses are class 3 felonies with fines up to $25,000 and 2 to 5 years in jail.

Some people mistakenly believe that with the legalization of marijuana for medicinal purposes, everyone is allowed to use marijuana recreationally. They may also think that enforcement of marijuana offenses is lessening, but this is not the case. Even if you obtain marijuana from a friend or colleague who is entitled to legally possess it due to a qualifying medical condition, this cannot be shared for recreational use with others. Absent possessing a valid identification card issued by the Department of Public Health, you are not entitled to use marijuana even if it has been issued by the state to another person.

Some offenders may be eligible for court supervision, the successful completion of which will allow dispose of the criminal case. There are many options for first time marijuana offenders especially that may result in no conviction being entered on your criminal record and it is important to understand all of your options before entering a plea agreement or pleading guilty to a crime you may have not committed.

Overview: Expunging Your Criminal Record in Illinois

February 27, 2016
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Expungement is the process where a criminal court disposition is removed from your public record. According to Illinois law, to expunge means “to physically destroy records or return them . . . and to obliterate the [offender’s name] from any official index or public record, or both.” 20 ILCS 2630/5.2(a)(1)(E). If you have been convicted […]

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Understanding the Risks of Retail Theft in Illinois

February 23, 2016
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“It was only a shirt.” “No one was looking.” “I think it’s just a misdemeanor anyway.” If these thoughts have ever crossed your mind, it is important to take a step back and understand the significant disruption a retail theft conviction could have on your life. Theft crimes throughout the country are on the rise […]

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New Illinois law makes speeding 26 mph over the limit a crime

March 28, 2014
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Illinois tollway drivers are finding out that state laws on speeding aren’t what they used to be. Drivers used to have to worry about misdemeanor charges only when speeding more than 30 MPH over the limit. But under a new law in 2014, a motorist can get a misdemeanor driving even slower than that. The […]

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New Illinois law bans mugshot web sites while Google removes them from search

October 23, 2013
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People make mistakes… That’s just life, right? But things are different in today’s world, because social media like Facebook and Twitter are available to document people’s mistakes forever. In an instant, arrest records are disseminated for all to see in Google. There is a pernicious industry on the web that preys upon people who were […]

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Felons not required to disclose criminal convictions on Illinois government job applications

October 13, 2013
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In an unprecedented move, Illinois Governor Pat Quinn has issued an order that allows applicants for state government jobs to apply without having to disclose felony convictions. Governor Quinn calls it an order to ‘Ban the Box,’ referring to the box job applicants have to check to disclose convictions. The administrative order, issued October 3, […]

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Illinois Supreme Court rules aggravated unlawful use of a weapon statute violates 2nd Amendment

September 16, 2013
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In one decision, the Illinois Supreme Court has undone thousands of convictions for carrying a loaded firearm, and opened the door for the release of hundreds of inmates in prison. The state high court has ruled that the aggravated unlawful use of a weapon statute is unconstitutional. Individuals who were convicted of this crime may […]

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Fatal accident: a review of reckless homicide charges and penalties

July 16, 2013
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The courts treat most accidents as a matter of negligence. The person who is responsible for the accident is considered at fault, or liable. Anyone who is injured or killed by the person at fault can recover damages in a civil action for personal injury or wrongful death. Since the person responsible did not intend […]

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A summary of the law and penalties for involuntary manslaughter

July 9, 2013
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Illinois courts apply the term involuntary manslaughter to any accidental death that results from the reckless acts of another. Recklessness is the key component of involuntary manslaughter. If the acts causing the death were negligent, then the loss of life would be actionable in a civil courtroom, through a wrongful death lawsuit. The statute penalizing […]

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Criminal conviction can result in deportation, even for permanent residents

July 1, 2013
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The impact of the criminal conviction can be long-lasting and devastating. A conviction is usually a permanent record that will never go away. Although Illinois courts have a procedure for expungement and sealing, most felony convictions do not qualify, and very few misdemeanor convictions are eligible. Unfortunately, the fact that a conviction comes from decades […]

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