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.