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When is Possession of Marijuana not a Crime in Illinois?

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There is a tendency for most people to shrug off possession of marijuana, something that is not common for possession of other controlled substances. Yet it is a controlled substance, and as a rule mere possession of marijuana carries quite severe criminal consequences in Illinois. But there are exceptions to the rule.

Illinois has most recently passed a bill through the state senate to legalize medical marijuana under the name “The Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Pilot Program Act.” In its rationale, the authors of the bill cited research where marijuana has been found to be efficacious in alleviating pain and nausea associated with treatment protocols for serious debilitating medical conditions such as AIDS, multiple sclerosis, cancer and hepatitis C.

However, as of this publication, the bill has yet to be signed into law by Illinois Governor Pat Quinn. While the bill is generally popular in Illinois, it is still not legal to possess marijuana even if you have a medical reason for it.
However, there are cities in Illinois where possession of marijuana or cannabis paraphernalia may be treated as not a crime if it is less than 10 grams. Instead of being charged as a misdemeanor, an offender may get off with a fine ranging from $50 to $500. These include Carbondale, the cities of Cook County, Urbana, Sugar Grove, and Evanston. In Chicago, the threshold is 15 grams, while in the city of Salem, it is 30 grams. Because it is not a crime, there is no jail time involved and it does not attach a criminal record to your name. It should be noted, though, that this is not automatic. It is an option given to the arresting officer, and it is not available for all areas in Illinois. Moreover, even if some states have selectively decriminalized possession of marijuana, it is still a federal offense.

If you are ever in a position where you are caught with possession of even a miniscule amount of marijuana, you should admit nothing until you have the consulted with an experienced criminal lawyer. Even if you are in a city that has decriminalized marijuana possession, it is still a slippery slope that you should not negotiate on your own. Laws are open to interpretation, and you need someone qualified to protect your rights and to keep you from getting a criminal record.

Negative Long-Term Effects of Cocaine Use

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Cocaine is one of the many drug stimulants that people use (or over-use) in order to get high. Everyone knows about the high that people have when they use cocaine. Possession of cocaine and using it can give a person the increased feeling of elation, alertness, and confidence. Although cocaine has its “positive” effects, they come with a price.

Along with being high (or feeling euphoric), cocaine can cause the person using it to feel irritated, anxious, and restless. They can even feel paranoid. Users usually feel excited, talk fast, and are very energetic. Physically, their pupils dilate, blood vessels constrict, body temperatures as well as heart rate increases, and have high blood pressure. Hyperstimulation often lasts for about 30 minutes to two hours, when the euphoric period is felt after using cocaine. For long term users, the effects are mostly psychological, although there are also physical effects. Repeated or dependent cocaine users can experience:

  • Stroke – due to constricting vessels in the brain, a person can have a stroke. Even people who have no history or risk factors of stroke can have them when they are using cocaine. Constricted blood vessels can give way to seizures and headaches.
  • Respiratory failure – for those who snort cocaine, lung problems can arise. Snorting cocaine can damage or perforate the nasal passage; cocaine often irritates the lungs and could therefore cause lung-term lung damage. Chest pain can also be experienced.
  • Irregular heartbeat and heart attacks – fast heart beats and constricted blood vessels spell trouble for the heart; this can hinder the arteries that supply the blood to the heart. Even young people are in danger of heart attacks and abnormal heart rhythms called heart arrhythmia.
  • Kidney failure – constant cocaine users can develop the potentially dangerous condition called rhabdomyolysis, where muscle fibers get broken down and enter the blood stream causing kidney failure. Those who have high blood pressure can have accelerated symptoms of kidney failure.
  • Lower sexual satisfaction – despite the enhanced effects of cocaine as an aphrodisiac, it can lower sexual satisfaction in the long run. Delayed or impaired ejaculation is often experienced by men, and both men and women can experience impaired sexual capacities.

Different ways of administering cocaine can render different effects to the body. Snorting, injecting, and smoking are ways that cocaine in its many forms can be absorbed by the body. Despite it being a very expensive drug, cocaine is still accessible to those who prefer to use it. Young men between the ages of 18 to 25 are one of the biggest users of cocaine.

Drug use and drug possession are against the law, therefore those who are caught in possession of cocaine can face severe penalties and imprisonment. Punishment can vary depending on the amount of cocaine caught in possession. Because of the weight of penalties, it is always better to avoid having a conviction once you have been caught possessing or using cocaine.

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