No other substance has created as much controversy in recent years as marijuana has. Many states have legalized the medical and/or recreational use of marijuana, and now it looks like Illinois will join the legal recreational cannabis ranks. The only step left is for Governor J.B. Pritzker to sign the bill and turn it into law. It is important for Illinois residents to understand exactly what this proposed law will entail as well as when it goes into effect. While it appears as if recreational marijuana in Illinois will soon be a reality in Illinois, cannabis possession and sale is still against the law for many Illinois residents in the meantime.
Medical Marijuana is Currently Only Available to Qualifying Individuals in Illinois
Illinois currently has 55 medical marijuana dispensaries across the state. These dispensaries are not available to everyone, however. Only individuals with one of several severe medical conditions can currently obtain medical marijuana. These conditions include things like cancer, AIDS, multiple sclerosis, post-traumatic stress disorder, and traumatic brain injury. Individuals who struggle with opioid dependence may also be eligible for medical marijuana.
It is critical to remember that while Illinois will likely have dramatically different cannabis laws in the future, that current laws are still in effect. If you are caught using, selling, or buying cannabis without having the authority to do so, you could still face criminal charges.
New Law Would Allow Recreational Cannabis Use and Pardon Misdemeanor Cannabis Offenses
If the bill is passed, the 55 medical dispensaries currently in Illinois will be allowed to open a second location as well as sell recreational marijuana to those without a medical condition. However, medical marijuana patients will still take priority over recreational users. If the governor signs the bill into law, recreational sales will start January 1 of next year. In addition, the governor says he plans to pardon all misdemeanor cannabis offenses involving less than 30 grams of cannabis.
Offenders who have been convicted of more serious cannabis offenses could petition the court to have their conviction pardoned and their record expunged. Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx says that the State’s Attorney office will not be prosecuting minor cannabis offenses. The office also plans to divert those convicted of a Class 4 felony marijuana possession to drug rehabilitation treatment instead of pursuing incarceration.
Contact a Will County Criminal Defense Attorney
If you are facing criminal charges for marijuana or other illicit substances, contact a Joliet drug crime defense lawyer for help. Call Law Offices of Jack L. Zaremba, P.C. at 815-740-4025 today to schedule a free, confidential consultation.