Despite the recent legalization of cannabis in several east coast states, Illinois has yet to join the list of those allowing recreational marijuana use. However, there is hope in the near future. In 2016, the state of Illinois decriminalized marijuana, making possession and consumption a non-criminal offense. Currently, being found with 10 grams or less of marijuana is considered a civil offense and will not result in felony or arrest. Instead, those caught with possession of cannabis in these small amounts will face fines up to $200. Criminal offenses regarding driving under the influence of cannabis (DUI) has also been set at 5 nanograms of THC in a driver's blood with two hours of consumption. Citation records for possessions will also be purged every 6 months, allowing residents to hold a clean record despite past infractions.
The decriminalization bill is a step in the right direction as the state begins to ease up on cannabis laws and considers the public's approval of recreational use. While progress is made on the recreational side, the state continues to offer legal cannabis purchase to those with authorized medical marijuana cards. Card carrying residents are allowed to possess up to two and a half ounces of cannabis per 14-day periods but are not allowed to cultivate cannabis plants within their own home. It is also illegal for card-carrying residents or tourists to take any amount of cannabis outside of state lines. There are currently over 4,000 patients registered for the use of cannabis, however, you will find few dispensaries throughout the state.
As cannabis laws go through a transitional process throughout the country it is important to stay informed on current cannabis laws within the state of Illinois. Always take the time to research current cannabis laws prior to the purchase or consumption of cannabis to avoid federal action.