Can You Get in Trouble for Possessing Cannabis in Illinois?

Men Hand Holds Cannabis Leaf — Waukegan, IL — Daniels, Long & Pinsel, LLC

With more and more states legalizing cannabis, you may be confused about your own state’s laws, especially since the federal government does not condone the use of cannabis. Despite this, cannabis legality is determined on a state level. If you would like to know more about the Illinois cannabis situation, keep reading.

Is Cannabis Legal in Illinois?

In 2019, Illinois passed an act legalizing the use of recreational cannabis for adults, which went into effect on January 1, 2020. In addition, medical cannabis users can grow up to five plants. The cannabis grown must be used for personal use, so you can’t sell any to individuals or dispensaries. If you don’t have a medical cannabis card, you can’t grow any cannabis plants.

What About Federal Laws?

Federally, cannabis is a Schedule 1 drug along with heroin, MDMA, and LSD. This means it is one of the most controlled substances and can lead to severe penalties and years in prison. However, changes during the Obama administration allowed states to craft their own laws regarding the use of recreational cannabis.

For this reason, the cannabis industry has some unique rules and laws. For example, if you drive out of state with cannabis, you are committing a federal crime. Even if the state to which you are driving allows recreational cannabis, crossing state lines with cannabis is a federal crime.

How Much Cannabis Can You Possess?

Under recreational cannabis laws, you can purchase cannabis and cannabis-infused items at legally licensed dispensaries. Each city has the right to refuse to allow dispensaries, and all dispensaries must follow certain strict guidelines, such as always checking ID, regardless of how old the person looks.

Adult residents 21 and older are legally allowed to have up to 30 grams of cannabis flower. For edible forms of cannabis, the legal limit is 500 milligrams of THC, and concentrates have a legal limit of 5 grams. Non-residents are legally allowed to have half those limits. Non-citizens are not legally allowed to consume any cannabis.

Typically, the laws only allow you to smoke cannabis in your own home (with the landlord’s permission if you rent), but some dispensaries allow on-site consumption. You are never allowed to smoke in public places, in vehicles, near anyone under 21, on school grounds, or anywhere that prohibits smoking.

What if You’re Caught Driving Under the Influence of Cannabis?

Cannabis may be legal in Illinois, but as with alcohol, you can’t drive a vehicle while under its influence. Regardless of whether you use it recreationally or medicinally, cannabis can slow reaction times and make it hard for you to concentrate, which can lead to a collision. For this reason, if you are caught driving while under the influence of cannabis, you can get a DUI citation.

In addition, when you drive on public highways in Illinois, you give implied consent to chemical tests to measure alcohol and drug levels. Refusing to do so can
result in the suspension of your driver’s license, and such refusal will be used against you at your trial.

If found guilty of driving under the influence of cannabis for the first time, you can face jail time of up to one year, have a fine of $2,500, and have your license revoked for a year. Subsequent instances have longer punishments and higher fees.

Cannabis is legal in Illinois, but it is still federally controlled. Therefore, all laws regarding cannabis are strict, which can often seem unfair. If you feel like you have been accused of a cannabis crime unjustly, or if you would like to talk about possible defense strategies, contact us at Daniels, Long & Pinsel, LLC, today.

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