Is Cannabis Legal In Illinois?
Here's What You Need To Know
The straightforward answer is yes, cannabis is legal in Illinois. You can use marijuana for either medicinal or recreational reasons or both if it suits you. The purchase and use of cannabis for recreational was officially legalized on January 1st 2020, in Illinois.
The use of marijuana for whatever reason had been illegal in Illinois since 1931.
Cannabis for Medication
The first attempt to legalize marijuana for medicinal purposes was made in 1978, and indeed legislation was passed for its legalization. However, the Department of Human Services and the Illinois State Police, for whatever reason, never applied the law.
Illinois legalized the use of marijuana for medication again in 2013 when the Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Pilot Program Act was signed into law. Unlike the previous legislation, this new law was detailed.
Through this law, the doors opened for the Illinois residents to cultivate or use cannabis within the state for medicinal purposes. By 2015, dispensaries had started to sell marijuana to qualified or approved patients.
Initially, the number of medical conditions permitted for marijuana treatment or use was small, but more medical conditions were let in over the years due to legislative changes. That is when patients with conditions that required the use of opioids were added to the list.
For a patient to qualify for cannabis medicine, they must have been diagnosed by a doctor and proven to have a medical condition that can be managed by cannabis. The patient is then supposed to register for a valid identification card to access the cannabis treatment.
Some of the ailments that can lead to marijuana use recommendation include cancer, severe epilepsy, Parkinson's disease, post-traumatic stress disorder, multiple sclerosis, and severe body pain.
Veterans do not need to register to get the marijuana medication if they can provide a one-year medical record from the Veterans Affairs (VA).
Opioid taking patients can apply register for cannabis treatment online once they get the doctor's green light.
Nevertheless, marijuana for medication is still on trial stage, even with this bold legislation. What happens is that the trial period is extended whenever it expires.
Cannabis for Recreation
By 2016, Illinois had so much relaxed its cannabis laws that being in its possession no longer invited a jail term but a fine of between $100-$200 for 10 grams or less of it.
On 25th June 2019, Governor Pritzker signed the Illinois Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act, whose sweeping changes finally legalized marijuana for adult use as from 1st January 2020. On that day alone, marijuana worth a whopping $3.2 was sold across Illinois.
Following this law, hundreds of thousands of criminal records related to possession of marijuana below 30 grams were or are being expunged by the Prisoner Review Board. It is still an ongoing process; convicts serving time for marijuana possession can petition for pardon by the Governor or the board.
It is on a case by case basis, so not every convict will be pardoned because there could be other related or unrelated charges. It is hoped that bout 700,000 cases to do with marijuana will have been expunged by 2025. For more detail about how you can be on the safe side which still enjoying the benefits of cannabis, make sure you check out Cannabis Industry Lawyer. They are one of the best cannabis law resources out there right now.
Restrictions on Cannabis Use
However, there are restrictions on how you use cannabis in Illinois, so it is not as if you will light up anywhere, even next to a cop, and expect no questions. There could be arrests if you are found to flaunt the marijuana laws.
To every rule, there is an exception:
1. Purchase Limitations
To purchase recreational marijuana in Illinois, you have to be at least 21 years and produce a valid identification document. Even with that, you are limited to at most 30 grams of marijuana flowers or other forms of marijuana.
For edible marijuana products, the THC-infused products must not be more than 500 milligrams, while marijuana concentrate products must not exceed 5 grams.
If you are a non-resident of Illinois (and at least 21 years of age), you are limited to 15 grams of marijuana flower per purchase. Again, you can only purchase up to 250 grams of edible products infused with THC, or 2.5 grams of cannabis concentrate products.
For qualified patients, only 71 grams of marijuana is allowed in your possession every 14 days. This means if you are found with more than 71 grams of marijuana at any given time, you stand accused.
However, there are exceptional cases when the doctor can recommend that a patient hold more marijuana than is typically allowed.
2. Growing Marijuana in Illinois
You cannot become a commercial ganja farmer in Illinois because you are not allowed to cultivate marijuana for recreational purposes here. However, a qualified patient can grow marijuana at home up to five plants. The patient can keep all the harvest in his house but should not be found in public with marijuana possession beyond the 71-grams limit.
The marijuana used for medication in Illinois is grown in licensed cultivation zones within the state and sold to the dispensaries.
3. Where Can You Use Marijuana in Illinois?
Additionally, you cannot publicly use cannabis in Illinois, especially in places where you are likely to endanger others' well-being.
For the clarity and avoidance of doubt, you are not allowed to use marijuana in a school ground, motor vehicle, near an on-duty fire-fighter, cop, bus driver, or anyone below 21 years. The rules of public marijuana use apply even to qualified patients.
However, minors with qualified medical conditions may consume their marijuana medication in school under the watch of a parent, caregiver, or school nurse. Some dispensaries allow patients to use marijuana within their premises if the local jurisdiction permits it.
While you can use marijuana in private residences, landlords have the right to deny you permission to smoke cannabis in their buildings. Your employer, private club, or hotel, as well as universities, also have the same right to prohibit cannabis usage on their premises.
4. When Not To Use Marijuana in Illinois
While marijuana is legal, you cannot use it prior to undertaking tasks that may turn disastrous if your judgment is compromised, such as when driving a car.
Marijuana use is legal in Illinois, but as you can see, you need to follow the laid down guidelines if you want to always be on the side of the law. You should use marijuana responsibly so that it doesn't affect you negatively.