The nation’s opinion about marijuana has changed dramatically in the last few decades. Once considered only a reactional drug, the medicinal benefits of cannabis are now being utilized by thousands of individuals across the country. Thirty states, including Illinois, have embraced looser marijuana laws of some kind while eight states and the District of Columbia have legalized the recreational use of marijuana entirely. According to a recent Cook County referendum, there may be many Illinois residents who would support Illinois becoming the next state to allow the use of recreational marijuana.
Polls Show Many Illinois Residents Support Recreational Marijuana Use
In the referendum, 68 percent of voters indicated that they were in favor of “the cultivation, manufacture, distribution, testing, and sale of marijuana and marijuana products for recreational use by adults 21 and older.” The referendum was only advisory and will not change any existing drug laws in Illinois, but advocates of recreational marijuana claim that this referendum proves that Illinois residents are ready for legalization.
Statewide polls conducted by the Paul Simon Institute at Southern Illinois University also suggest that the majority of Illinois residents are in favor of legalizing recreational marijuana. Senator Heather Steans and State Representative Kelly Cassidy have introduced a bill which would legalize recreational use of marijuana for Illinois residents over the age of 21. They say that the bill would ultimately lead to a $350 million to $700 million increase in annual tax revenue from the sale of marijuana. It would also eradicate what some call discriminatory and ineffective policing efforts while simultaneously weakening illegal markets and cartels. Advocates of the bill also point out that legalizing marijuana could help stop black market dealers from selling marijuana or harder drugs to children.
Current Rules Regarding Marijuana Use in Illinois
While a recreational bill has been introduced, marijuana is only currently legal in Illinois for those who have a valid state-issued medical marijuana ID card. If you do not qualify for medical marijuana, it is against the law for you to possess or use cannabis. However, possession of less than ten grams is only a civil violation, similar to a parking ticket. Possessing larger amounts of cannabis, selling or trafficking marijuana, or growing marijuana are all criminal offenses which currently can be considered felonies in Illinois.
Have You Been Charged with a Drug-Related Crime?
If you have been charged with a criminal offense, you need an attorney who will help you navigate the legal process and protect your rights. To speak with an experienced Joliet drug crimes attorney at the Law Office of Jack L. Zaremba, call us at 815-740-4025.