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Will Illinois Be the Next State to Legalize Recreational Marijuana?

Posted on in Drugs and Narcotics

Illinois drug lawsWhile the possession of marijuana is a criminal offense throughout much of the United States, its use is widespread, and support for marijuana legalization is growing. Currently, the recreational use of marijuana is legal in eight states and the District of Columbia, and 64% of Americans support legalization. As several other states consider ballot referendums or legislation to legalize marijuana, Illinois residents are wondering if our state may be the next in line to make this change.

Current Illinois Marijuana Laws

In 2016, Illinois passed a law decriminalizing the possession of less than 10 grams of marijuana. While possession of marijuana is still considered illegal, anyone caught in possession of less than 10 grams will not be charged with a criminal offense; instead, they will face a civil fine of $100 to $200. Possession of more than 10 grams is a criminal offense ranging from a Class A misdemeanor to a Class 1 felony, depending on the amount of marijuana.

Illinois has also legalized the use of medical marijuana by people with debilitating medical conditions such as cancer, HIV, Crohn’s Disease, ALS, Alzheimer’s Disease, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, and terminal illnesses with a diagnosis of six months or less to live. A patient who has received a valid registry identification card may possess and use up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana over a period of 14 days.

Possible Marijuana Legalization in Illinois

The debate around the legalization of recreational marijuana in Illinois has intensified recently as multiple Democratic candidates who have entered the 2018 race for governor have come out in favor of legalization. Legislation has also been introduced in the state Senate to legalize and tax marijuana. Advocates believe that the state could gain up to $700 million in tax revenue each year following legalization.

While 66% of Illinois residents are in favor of legalization, opponents believe that it could cause dangers to drivers on the state’s roads. A study performed by AAA found that fatal car accidents have increased in the state of Washington state following the legalization of recreational marijuana, and critics of legalization believe the same thing could happen in Illinois. While the state currently prohibits driving while under the influence of marijuana, state crime labs do not currently perform the tests which would demonstrate that someone has more than the legal limit of five nanograms of THC in their system, making it difficult to pursue a conviction for driving under the influence of cannabis.

Contact a Chicago Drug Crimes Attorney

While marijuana may be legal in Illinois within a few years, possession of marijuana is currently illegal, and it can result in criminal charges and serious punishments. If you are facing charges related to marijuana possession, the skilled drug crime defense attorneys at Luisi Legal Group can provide you with a robust defense and work to minimize the consequences to your life. Contact our Rolling Meadows criminal defense lawyers at 773-276-5541 to schedule a free consultation.

 

Sources:

https://www.usatoday.com/story/money/2017/11/14/pot-initiatives-predicting-next-15-states-legalize-marijuana/860502001/

http://www.dailyherald.com/news/20171107/experts-fear-consequences-of-legalized-marijuana-in-drivers-here

http://www.wsiltv.com/story/36834368/how-soon-could-recreational-marijuana-be-legal-in-illinois

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs3.asp?ActID=3503&ChapterID=35

Illinois State Bar Association American Bar Association Hispanic Lawyer Association of Illinois Super Lawyers
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