When is Possession of Marijuana not a Crime in Illinois?


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.

One Response to “When is Possession of Marijuana not a Crime in Illinois?”

  1. Your blog is improperly displaying characters when I use Ubunto with Google Chrome. Just thought you should know!

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