AZHARI LLC BLOG

Aug. 2 2017

Marijuana’s Confusing Legal Status in Illinois

Posted By: Sami Azhari

Marijuana's Confusing Legal Status in Illinois

Right now, in over half of the states in our country, marijuana is legal in some form.

Seven states, along with the District of Columbia, have legalized marijuana for recreational use. Medical marijuana is legal in 29 states and the District of Columbia. Additionally, 22 states have decriminalized certain marijuana possession offenses.

Illinois seems to be following this same path as well. In 2014, we made the use of medical marijuana legal. This past year, we decriminalized the possession of less than 10 grams of marijuana. Then, earlier this year, state Senator Heather Steans and state Representative Kelly Cassidy sponsored a bill to allow anyone 21 or older to use recreational marijuana legally.

However, even though we’ve made great strides in the marijuana arena, there’s still a disconnect between the changing attitudes on cannabis use and the law. So let’s explore our current marijuana laws and penalties as well as what’s in store in our future.

Illinois Medical Marijuana Laws

As mentioned above, our state currently has legal medical marijuana through the Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Pilot Program Act. The 2014 act is a four-year pilot program that allows eligible patients to purchase 2.5 ounces of marijuana every 14 days.

In order to qualify and register for medical marijuana under this program, you have to have one of a number of illnesses or conditions, including cancer, HIV/AIDS, Parkinson’s, seizures, rheumatoid arthritis, traumatic brain injury, PTSD, and terminal illness, among others.

Minors, people with psychiatric conditions, and people who have been convicted of drug felonies are ineligible for the program. Additionally, medical marijuana patients can’t be police officers, firefighters, probation officers, or school bus drivers.

Illinois Marijuana Laws

Chicago Marijuana Crimes Lawyer

When it comes to possessing, selling, or trafficking marijuana, you can be charged with a misdemeanor or a felony depending on the amount of marijuana in question.

The only exception to this, as mentioned above, is if you possess 10 grams or less. If you are caught with less than 10 grams of marijuana, you will be given a civil violation, which is punishable by $100-$200 in fines and no jail time.

Here’s a quick glimpse at Illinois’ marijuana laws:

Marijuana Possession

  • 10 to 30 grams is a misdemeanor offense punishable by up to 1 year in jail and fines up to $2,500.
  • 30 to 500 grams is felony offense punishable by one to 6 years in jail and fines up to $25,000. One year is the mandatory minimum sentence.
  • 500 to 2,000 grams is a felony offense punishable by 2 to 10 years in jail and fines up to $25,000. Two years is the mandatory minimum sentence.
  • 2,000 to 5,000 grams is a felony offense punishable by 3 to 14 years in jail and fines up to $25,000. Three years is the mandatory minimum sentence.
  • More than 5,000 grams is a felony offense punishable by 4 to 30 years in jail and fines up to $25,000. Four years is the mandatory minimum sentence.

Marijuana Sales or Trafficking

  • 5 grams or less is a misdemeanor offense punishable by up to 6 months in jail and fines up to $1,500.
  • 5 to 10 grams is a misdemeanor offense punishable by up to one year in jail and fines up to $2,500.
  • 10 to 30 grams is felony offense punishable by one to 6 years in jail and fines up to $25,000. One year is the mandatory minimum sentence.
  • 30 to 500 grams is a felony offense punishable by 2 to 10 years in jail and fines up to $50,000. Two years is the mandatory minimum sentence.
  • 500 to 2,000 grams is a felony offense punishable by 3 to 14 years in jail and fines up to $100,000. Three years is the mandatory minimum sentence.
  • 2,000 to 5,000 grams is a felony offense punishable by 4 to 30 years in jail and fines up to $150,000. Four years is the mandatory minimum sentence.

If you bring more than 2,500 grams of marijuana into our state, it’s considered trafficking and the mandatory minimum sentence is twice the minimum sentence as the sale of marijuana. So for any amount between 2,500 and 5,000 grams, the mandatory minimum sentence is 8 years.

Marijuana’s Future in Illinois

Rolling Meadows Drug Attorney

Nearly two-thirds of our state’s voters support legalizing marijuana for recreational use. If it’s taxed like alcohol, marijuana sales could “generate between $350 million and $700 million – revenue the state sorely needs as it faces an annual deficit of close to $10 billion.”

With these numbers, it seems like it’s only a matter of time before legalization takes place. In the meantime, however, if you’re charged with a marijuana crime, reach out to an experienced Illinois marijuana attorney who can help you defend against your charges and fight for your rights.

 

About the Author

Sami Azhari has been working as a lawyer since 2007, after receiving his Juris Doctor from the Michigan State University College of Law. He has handled numerous state and federal cases, and is known throughout the Chicago and Rolling Meadows area for providing his clients with high-quality, skilled representation. He has been recognized by SuperLawyers, the National Trial Lawyers Association, and other notable organizations, and has spoken at a number of legal conferences.