The topic of Marijuana and the talk about possibly legalizing the Possession of Marijuana in Illinois is a big topic in the news and among Illinois residents. In addition, Illinois legalized the use of Medical Marijuana a few years ago. The movement towards legalizing Marijuana and the adoption of Medical Marijuana in Illinois has created confusion about whether you can be arrested for Possession of Marijuana and what the potential consequences could be. I want to talk about this issue and clear up any confusion about what the status of the Illinois Marijuana laws are today.
Possessing any amount of Marijuana is illegal in the State of Illinois. If you have applied for a Medical Marijuana card, and have been approved for the Medical Marijuana Program, you can legally purchase and possess Medical Marijuana that is purchased through an approved Medical Marijuana Dispensary in Illinois. However, the Medical Marijuana must be for your personal use and cannot be used in public.
Several years ago, Illinois decriminalized the possession of small amounts of Marijuana. While it’s still illegal to possess small amounts of Marijuana, if you are caught with up to 10 grams of Marijuana, instead of being arrested and facing criminal prosecution, you will be given a Civil Infraction, or a Municipal Ordinance Violation, instead of facing criminal charges. The maximum penalty you will face for possessing less than 10 grams of Marijuana is a civil fine up to $200. But while possessing less than 10 grams of Marijuana is not considered a criminal offense, depending on what town or what county you are in, the charge may appear on a criminal background search. This is something that you should research and be aware of prior to paying a Municipal Ordinance ticket for the possession of less than 10 grams of Marijuana. You should know whether the case will be visible in a background search or not before deciding how to deal with an Ordinance Violation for something like this.
If you are caught with 10 grams or more of Marijuana, you could be facing criminal prosecution. Possession of more than 10 grams of Cannabis but not more than 30 grams of Cannabis is a Class B Misdemeanor which carries a punishment of up to six-months in County Jail and a maximum fine of $1,500. If you are caught with more than 30 grams of marijuana but no more than 100 grams of cannabis, you will be charged with a Class A Misdemeanor which carries a punishment of up to one-year in jail and a maximum fine of $2,500. Possession of more than 500 grams of Cannabis but not more than 2000 grams of Cannabis is a Class 3 felony which is punishable by 2 to 5 years in prison and a maximum fine of $25,000. Possession of more than 2000 grams of Cannabis but not more than 5,000 grams of Cannabis is a Class 2 felony which is punishable by three to seven years in prison and a fine up to $25,000. Possessing more than 5,000 grams of Cannabis is a Class 1 Felony which carries a punishment of 4 to 15 years in prison and a maximum fine of $25,000.
In addition to the civil and criminal penalties for the Possession of Marijuana, it is illegal to operate a motor vehicle on the roads while under the influence of drugs. Most people think that in order to be guilty of a DUI, you have to be under the influence of alcohol. But you can also be under the influence of illegal drugs and be guilty of a DUI. As a matter of fact, you can be under the influence of legally obtained drugs and still be guilty of a DUI. A DUI stands for “Driving Under the Influence.” As long as your ability to operate a motor vehicle is impaired by any substance, including alcohol, illegal drugs, and legal drugs, you can be charged with a DUI and convicted of a DUI if the prosecutor is able to prove that you were Under the Influence while operating a motor vehicle. You can even be charged with a DUI if you have a Medical Marijuana card and were operating a motor vehicle under the influence of Marijuana. Having a Medical Marijuana card does not allow you to be operating a motor vehicle under the influence of Marijuana in Illinois.
If you are arrested for selling or delivering Marijuana, you will face criminal charges regardless of the amount of the Marijuana involved. There is no civil fine or Municipal Ordinance Violation for selling Marijuana.
Recently, a new Governor was sworn in for Illinois. The new Governor has indicated that he would sign legislation legalizing the recreational use and Possession of Marijuana. Last week, the first bill legalizing Marijuana in Illinois was introduced in the Illinois legislature. If the legislation is enacted and Illinois legalizes Marijuana, all of the Illinois Marijuana laws will change. Until then, possessing any amount of Marijuana in Illinois is illegal.
James Dimeas is a nationally-recognized, award-winning, Possession of Marijuana lawyer. James Dimeas has over-27 years of experience handling Marijuana cases in Chicago, Cook County, DuPage County, Kane County, and Lake County. The National Trial Lawyers named James Dimeas a “Top 100 Criminal Defense Trial Lawyer.” 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.” The American Institute of Criminal Law Attorneys named James Dimeas a “10 Best Attorney for Client Satisfaction.” Attorney and Practice Magazine gave James Dimeas its “Top 10 Criminal Defense Attorney Award for Illinois.” The National Academy of Criminal Defense Attorneys gave James Dimeas its “Top 10 Attorney Award for the State of Illinois.” James Dimeas was named a “Best DUI Attorney.” Expertise named James Dimeas a “Best Criminal Defense Lawyer in Chicago.” James Dimeas is rated “Superb” by AVVO, the highest rating possible for any Possession of Marijuana attorney in the United States.
If you are being charged with Possession of Marijuana, you can contact James Dimeas anytime for a free and confidential consultation. You can always talk to James Dimeas personally by calling him at 847-807-7405.
Marijuana and DUI’s in Illinois, by James G. Dimeas, Chicago Criminal Lawyer Blog, September 30, 2018.
Illinois Expands It’s Medical Marijuana Program, by James G. Dimeas, Chicago Criminal Lawyer Blog, August 29, 2018.
Illinois Decriminalizes Small Amounts of Marijuana, by James G Dimeas, Chicago Criminal Lawyer Blog, December 11, 2017.