What You Should Know About Illinois New Recreational Marijuana Laws

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Illinois will become the 11th state to legalize the use and possession of recreational marijuana. The bill, which was passed entirely through legislation rather than voter referendum, would allow marijuana sales, possession and use throughout the state beginning next year. The bill specifically outlines the new rules concerning marijuana , which will be treated and regulated much like alcohol is treated and regulated now.

There Will Be Limits on How Much Cannabis You Can Possess and Where You Can Buy It

Presuming the bill is signed as promised, starting January 1, 2020, Illinois citizens who are at least 21 years old will be able to purchase and possess up to 30 grams -- which is around one ounce -- of dry marijuana, which is also called flower. Citizens are also permitted to possess up to five grams of cannabis concentrate and up to 500 milligrams of THC contained in cannabis products such as edibles, tinctures, or even lotions.

In the beginning of 2020, the state’s 20 licensed medical marijuana dispensaries will be the only places where you can legally purchase cannabis. The state hopes to have more licenses available by mid-2020 to allow other growers and cultivators to open stores.

You Cannot Consume Marijuana in Certain Places

Though it will be legal for any person over the age of 21 to consume cannabis, there are still certain restrictions that are placed on its usage. You will be permitted to consume cannabis within your own home and in certain cannabis-related businesses. It will still be against the law to consume marijuana in the following places:

• Public places, including streets and parks;

• In any motor vehicle;

• On school grounds (with the exception of medical marijuana users);

• Any place where you are near a person who is under the age of 21; and

• Any place near an on-duty school bus driver, police officer, firefighter or corrections officer.

In addition, certain entities are still permitted to ban marijuana use at their discretion, including businesses, landlords, and Illinois schools and universities.

You May Be Able to Have Past Marijuana-Related Convictions Erased

Fortunately, with the legalization of recreational marijuana, the bill also provides ways in which those convicted of previous marijuana-related crimes may be able to have their convictions expunged. Only marijuana-related convictions that did not involve violence will be eligible for expungement. Those who were convicted of possessing less than 30 grams of marijuana can have their records referred to the state’s Prisoner Review Board, which would then send them to the governor for a pardon. Those convicted of possessing 30-500 grams of marijuana are permitted to petition to expunge their records themselves.

Contact a Joliet, IL Drug Crimes Defense Lawyer for More Information

For years, marijuana possession has been a rather serious crime in Illinois. Before the bill was passed, possessing small amounts of marijuana resulted in a fine, but charges could escalate to misdemeanor or even felony charges, depending on the amount. If you have been convicted of a marijuana-related charge, a knowledgeable Will County drug crimes defense attorney can help you petition to have your records expunged. The team at the Law Office of Jack L. Zaremba, P.C. can help you get the answers to all of your questions concerning the new laws about marijuana. Call our office today at 815-740-4025 to schedule a free consultation.

An Illinois Juvenile Diversion Program May Help Your Son or Daughter Avoid Incarceration

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If you are a parent, you probably spend a lot of time worrying about your child and the decisions he or she is making. Unfortunately, children and teenagers can sometimes get involved with the wrong crowd and make decisions which lead to criminal charges . Young people may behave in reckless or illegal ways because they are trying to fit in, they struggle with an addiction or mental health problem, or for other reasons. If your son or daughter has been accused of a crime, it is possible that a diversion program could help them avoid jail time and turn their life around.

What is the Purpose of a Diversion Program?

Juvenile detention is similar to adult incarceration. Minors who are convicted of a crime are sent to juvenile detention as a punishment for their wrongdoing. Juvenile diversion programs are an alternative to incarceration which may be more likely to help your child stay out of the criminal justice system in the future. While the structure of juvenile diversion programs varies from program to program, they all share the same goal: to help juveniles avoid becoming repeat offenders. Diversion programs can be highly beneficial to young people and their families. Studies have shown that diversion programs are more effective at preventing future illegal activity than incarceration in juvenile detention is.

What Services Does a Diversion Program Include?

Diversion programs can provide many services to youth offenders including:

• Job skills training;

• Educational opportunities and tutoring;

• Service-learning programs;

• Screening and assessments;

• Family counseling;

• Mental health treatment;

• Crisis intervention; and

• Recreation and sports programs.

In many instances, a diversion program can be customized to meet the specific needs of the juvenile participating in the program. It is important to note that not every youth offender may be eligible for a diversion program. These programs are generally reserved for young people who have been accused of minor offenses or who do not have an extensive criminal record.

Contact a Will County Juvenile Defense Lawyer

At our firm, we understand that having a child be accused of a crime can be devastating to the whole family. We believe that young people who have made a mistake deserve a second chance. We will work hard to help your child avoid detention at all costs. Speak with experienced Joliet juvenile defense attorney from the Law Offices of Jack L. Zaremba, P.C. to learn more about alternative sentencing for your child. Call us today at 815-740-4025 to schedule a free, confidential consultation.

Marijuana Possession Is Still a Crime in Illinois for 2019

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Illinois is set to legalize the sale of marijuana to adults age 21 and over effective January 1, 2020. The new laws on marijuana possession , public usage, and growing will also take effect on that date, presuming that Governor J.B. Pritzker keeps his promise to sign the landmark measure already passed by the Illinois House and Senate. For the remainder of 2019, however, the current laws remain on the books, so you could still be arrested and prosecuted for marijuana possession. However, simple possession of no more than 30 grams is unlikely to result in criminal charges.

How Much Marijuana Can I Legally Possess in 2019 in Illinois?

For 2019, Illinois state law (720 ILCS 550/4) declares that “It is unlawful for any person knowingly to possess cannabis.” However, the punishment for marijuana possession varies depending on the amount you are caught with:

• 10 grams or less of any substance containing cannabis is only a civil violation punishable by a fine of $100 to $200. This offense will not go on your criminal record.

• 10.1 to 30 grams is a Class B misdemeanor.

• 30.1 to 100 grams is a Class A misdemeanor for a first offense and a Class 4 felony for a subsequent offense*.

• 100.1 to 500 grams is a Class 4 felony for a first offense and a Class 3 felony for a subsequent offense*.

• 500.1 to 2,000 grams is a Class 3 felony.

• 2,000.1 to 5,000 grams in a Class 2 felony.

• More than 5,000 grams is a Class 1 felony.

* Your crime will be considered a subsequent offense if you have a prior conviction for any type of marijuana or drug crime anywhere in the U.S.

Will Police and Prosecutors Actually Enforce Illinois Marijuana Laws in 2019?

Starting in 2020, Illinois residents may legally possess 30 grams of cannabis flower (plant material), 5 grams of cannabis concentrate (oil), and up to 500 milligrams of THC in the form of edibles. The police and prosecutors in every city and county in Illinois are already discussing how strictly they will enforce these quantities of marijuana in 2019.

Some police chiefs and sheriffs say they will continue enforcing the current laws right through the end of 2019, expressing concern about drug DUIs and crimes of violence stemming from illegal dealing.

Others say that they have already stopped prosecuting possession of up to 30 grams of weed, since that will not be a crime effective January 1 and the new law will effectively pardon all prior possession offenses of up to 30 grams.

In Joliet, you can expect to be charged only with a city ordinance violation and pay a $150 fine for possession of less than 30 grams of marijuana; this will not go on your criminal record. McHenry County also says they only issue fines for most low-level marijuana possession offenses.

In DuPage County, they no longer consider it a “wise use of our resources” to prosecute most misdemeanor marjijuana possession cases. Cook County has stopped prosecuting misdemeanor marijuana offenses and referring Class 4 felony possession cases to treatment rather than prison.

Thus, your chances of facing criminal charges for possession of less than 30 grams of marijuana seem very small for the rest of 2019.

However, you should still be careful, particularly on school grounds or within 500 feet of school grounds when anyone under age 18 is around. In these circumstances, possession with intent to deliver involving more than 2.5 grams of marijuana is a felony crime that will likely be prosecuted. In other locations, possession with intent to deliver involving more than 10 grams is a felony.

Remember, too, that driving while high in Illinois will get you charged with DUI, a charge that can never be expunged from your criminal record.

A Will County Marijuana Possession Defense Attorney

Remember: Unless you have a medical marijuana card, marijuana possession is still illegal in Illinois and most other states. If you have been charged with drug possession, manufacturing, distribution, or trafficking, call an experienced Joliet marijuana possession defense lawyer . Attorney Jack L. Zaremba has practiced criminal law in the Will County courts for more than a decade and will provide the aggressive defense you need. Call 815-740-4025 for a free consultation.


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