The ongoing campaign for the legalization of marijuana in Illinois shows no signs of slowing. As crimes related to cocaine, heroin and other opioids continue occupying the efforts of law enforcement agencies, advocates for legal recreational marijuana met with state officials late last year to pursue their agenda.
Expanded Medical Use Under Consideration
A new Bill before the Illinois State Legislature would expand the state’s medical marijuana program, making it available to more patients. It has even gained the support of some doctors from around the state who insist the new law could help fight the growing opioid epidemic.
Currently, approximately 27,000 patients qualify for medical marijuana in Illinois, and there are 40 conditions that allow patients to qualify, including cancer and AIDS. The new law, if passed, would allow a qualified individual to obtain a one-year medical marijuana card without fingerprinting or a criminal background check. The approval process would be reduced from two to three months to just 14 days.
Approval of Recreational Use Also Sought
In addition to expanded medical use, those favoring full legalization of marijuana addressed legislators on that topic late last year. Citing statistics from Washington state, a representative of the “anti-prohibition” effort presented a number of positive aspects arising from full legalization. The Illinois Bill would allow adults aged 21 and older to possess up to 28 grams of marijuana, as well as five marijuana plants.
Not all of the elected officials were convinced, however, as some expressed skepticism and indicated a desire to see more thorough research.
Is There a Timeline?
Some research indicates that as many as two-thirds of Illinois voters favor making marijuana legal if it is taxed and regulated like alcohol. The issue could hinge on the winner of the 2018 Governor’s race, with Spring of 2019 likely being the earliest that full legalization could be approved.
A Knowledgeable Joliet Drug and Narcotics Defense Attorney Can Help You
Although Illinois has changed some laws pertaining to possession of marijuana, law enforcement continues its efforts to charge and prosecute individuals caught up in the drug trade. Whether your involvement is recreational, due to an addiction, or part of something much larger, The Law Offices of Jack L. Zaremba can provide you with the help you need if you are charged with a drug crime. With our years of experience in criminal defense, we offer clients a meticulous and well-thought-out strategy to help mitigate any possible sentence or have charges dismissed completely. Contact an experienced Illinois drugs and narcotics criminal defense lawyer today at 815-740-4025 to schedule a free initial consultation.