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Can I Still Be Arrested for Possession of Marijuana in Illinois After It Becomes Legal?

Illinois-Marijuana-300x226On January 1, 2020, at 6 am, Possession of recreational Marijuana will become legal in Illinois. But, there will be limitations to the legalization of the Possession of Marijuana. Violating any of the restrictions in the new law can get you in trouble with the law for the Illegal Possession of Marijuana in Illinois. If you are an Illinois resident, or planning on visiting Illinois, and are thinking about taking advantage of the new law legalizing the recreational use of marijuana, you should be aware of what you can legally do, and what you cannot do under the new law. If you do not know what the rules are and what the limitations are, you could find yourself being arrested, receiving an expensive ticket, or even facing a criminal case for Possession of Marijuana.

What is the Current Marijuana Law in Illinois?

Under current state law, it is illegal to possess any amount of Marijuana in Illinois unless you have a Medical Marijuana Card issued by the Illinois Department of Public Health. A couple of years ago, Illinois decriminalized the possession of small amounts of Marijuana. If you are caught with less than 10 grams of Marijuana, instead of being charged with a crime, you can be charged with a Municipal Ordinance Violation which carries a fine.

-If you are caught with 10 to 30 grams of marijuana, you could be charged with a Class B Misdemeanor which carries a maximum penalty of up to 6-months in County Jail and a maximum fine of $1,500.

– If you are caught with 30 to 100 grams of marijuana, you could be charged with a Class A Misdemeanor which carries a maximum penalty of up to 1-year in County Jail and a maximum fine of $2,500.

– If you are caught with 100 to 500 grams of marijuana, you could be charged with a Class 4 Felony which carries a maximum penalty of 1 to 3 years in prison.

-If you are caught with 500 to 2,000 grams of marijuana, you could be charged with a Class 3 Felony which carries a maximum penalty of 2 to 5 years in prison.

How Does the Illinois Marijuana Laws Change on January 1, 2020 And What Are the Limitations?

On January 1, 2020, at 6 am, House Bill 1438 will become law in Illinois. House Bill 1438 will make it legal to possess Marijuana in Illinois without being arrested. It will also allow for the establishment of stores that can legally sell Marijuana. Taxes will be imposed on the sale of Marijuana. As of today, Regulators have only approved 29 licenses to set up shops to legally sell Marijuana. The following taxes will be imposed on the sale of Marijuana:

-10% tax on Marijuana flower that has up to 35% THC.

-25% tax on Marijuana flower that has over 35% THC.

-20% tax on Marijuana infused products, such as edibles and lotions.

Here are the limitations to the law legalizing the recreational use and Possession of Marijuana in Illinois:

– Only adults, 21 and over, are legally allowed to Possess Marijuana in Illinois. Possession of Marijuana for minors will remain illegal in Illinois.

– Adult residents of Illinois are limited to the possession of up to 30 grams of Cannabis flower, and 500 mg of THC infused products, like edibles and lotions. Non-Illinois residents are only allowed to possess half of what Illinois residents are allowed to possess.

– You cannot use Cannabis in public. This means that you cannot use Cannabis around anyone that can see you in public, including in your own backyard. Any landowner can ban the use of Cannabis on their property. (Last week the Mayor of Chicago and the Chicago Police Superintendent announced that Chicago residents will not be cited for smoking marijuana on their balcony or back yard.)

-You cannot use Cannabis around anyone under the age of 21.

-It will remain illegal to Operate a Motor Vehicle Under the Influence of Marijuana. Even though Marijuana will become legal in Illinois, the Illinois DUI laws will not change.

-It will be illegal to transport Cannabis into or out of the State of Illinois by mail.

-Employers will be allowed to ban the use of Marijuana by their employees. If an employer conducts a drug test and you test positive for THC, your employer can fire you even though Marijuana is legal in Illinois.

Just like any other new law, it will take a while for Police, Prosecutors, and Courts, to adapt to the new law. There is no scientifically accepted way to test motorists for Marijuana that the Courts have accepted as being legally sufficient. It is expected that in the near future, something will be developed that will be able to test or marijuana, like a breathalyzer test for alcohol consumption.

So, while Marijuana will become legal in Illinois on January 1, if you do not know what the limitations of the new law are you could find yourself being arrested and facing criminal charges.

James Dimeas is a nationally-recognized, award-winning, Possession of Cannabis/Marijuana attorney. James Dimeas has over-27 years of experience handling Possession of Cannabis/Marijuana cases throughout Chicago, Cook County, DuPage County, Kane County, and Lake County. Recently, the American Society of Legal Advocates named James Dimeas a “Top 100 Criminal Defense Lawyer in the State of Illinois For the Year 2018 and 2019.” Attorney and Practice Magazine gave James Dimeas the “Top 10 Criminal Defense Attorney Award for Illinois.” The National Academy of Criminal Defense Attorneys gave James Dimeas the “Top 10 Attorney Award for the State of Illinois”. AVVO rates James Dimeas as “Superb”, the highest rating possible for any Possession of Cannabis/Marijuana lawyer in the United States. Expertise named James Dimeas a “Best Criminal Defense Lawyer in Chicago.” James Dimeas is a “Best DUI Attorney.” The American Institute of Criminal Law Attorneys named James Dimeas a “10 Best Attorney for Client Satisfaction.” The National Trial Lawyers named James Dimeas a “Top 100 Criminal Defense Trial Lawyer.

If you are being charged with Possession of Cannabis/Marijuana, you can contact James Dimeas anytime for a free and confidential consultation. You can speak to James Dimeas personally by calling him at 847-807-7405.

Additional Resources:

Illinois House Bill 1438.

Additional Blogs:

Can I Still Be Arrested for Possession of Marijuana in Illinois, by James G. Dimeas, Chicago Criminal Lawyer Blog, March 28, 2019.

Marijuana and DUI’s in Illinois, by James G. Dimeas, Chicago Criminal Lawyer Blog, September 30, 2018.

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