Illinois has made significant progress when it comes to medical marijuana policy, but its laws regarding recreational still lags behind other progressive states. Still, the legislature did recently pass a decriminalization bill that removed criminal penalties for possession of small amounts of marijuana.
Recreational Marijuana in Illinois
Gov. Bruce Rauner signed a decriminalization bill — SB 2228 — on July 29, 2016. The new law, which took effect immediately, makes possession of 10 grams or less of marijuana a civil offense punishable to a fine of up to $200. The law also removes the possibility of a criminal record and those found in possession are no longer subject to arrest or jail time. Municipalities are required to purge citation records for possession every six months.
Possession of 10 to 30 grams of recreational marijuana is considered a misdemeanor if it is a first time personal use offense. Subsequent offense of possessing 10grams to 30 grams will be charged as a felony. First offense of personal use of 30 grams to 500 grams is a charged as a felony, but the offender has to serve a minimum mandatory sentence of 1 year, and maximum jail time is 6 years. The minimum mandatory sentence for subsequent offense is 2 years. The mandatory jail time also applies to sale of more than 10 grams of recreational marijuana as well. Note that first time offenders may be given conditional release.
Medical Marijuana in Illinois
Gov. Pat Quinn signed the Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Pilot Program Act to legalize medical marijuana in Illinois, effective August 1, 2013. Public Act 98-0122 allows prescribed users to purchase and use up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana over a 14-day period. To be qualified, patients must acquire a medical marijuana prescription from a doctor who has an established history of treating the patient.
Under the law, patients must obtain medical marijuana only from one of 54 dispensaries authorized by the Illinois Department of Public Health. A caregiver is permitted to pick up medicine for very ill, homebound patients.
In June 2016, Gov. Bruce Rauner approved legislation that extended the state pilot program to at least July 2020 and expanded it to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and terminal illness.
The following conditions are approved for medical marijuana prescription in the state:
- Alzheimer’s Disease
- Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)
- Arnold Chiari Malformation
- Cachexia or Wasting Syndrome
- Chronic Inflammatory Demyelinating Polyneuropathy
- Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (Type 2)
- Crohn’s Disease
- Fibrous Dysplasia
- Hepatitis C
- Interstitial Cystitis
- Multiple Sclerosis (MS)
- Muscular Dystrophy
- Myasthenia Gravis
- Nail-patella Syndrome
- Parkinson’s Disease
- Post-Concussion Syndrome
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
- Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy
- Residual Limb Pain
- Rheumatoid Arthritis
- Sjogren’s Syndrome
- Spinal Cord Disease
- Spinocerebellar Ataxia (SCA)
- Tarlove Cysts
- Terminal Illness
- Tourette’s Syndrome
- Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) and Post-Concussion Syndrome
Under the Alternatives to Opioids Act (SB 336), signed into law August 2018, patients prescribed opioid drugs can now register to obtain legal medical marijuana instead. The move is meant to help combat the opioid epidemic, which claimed the lives of nearly 2,000 people in Illinois in 2016. Under the law, doctors can authorize medical marijuana for patients qualified for a prescription for opioids like Vicodin, OxyContin, or Percocet.
Consumption of CBD from Hemp Oil in Illinois
Hemp-derived CBD products are legal under Federal Law in the United States; however, individual state laws are dynamic and fluid. Individual states may enact their own laws governing hemp-derived CBD.
Cultivation of Cannabis in Illinois
Personal cultivation of marijuana is illegal in Illinois, even for medical marijuana patients and caregivers. Cultivation of less than 5 plants is a misdemeanor punishable by a 1-year maximum jail sentence. Cultivating anything more 5 plants can result in a minimum mandatory sentence of up to 4 years and a maximum fine of up to $100,000.
In August 2018, Gov. Rauner signed into law the Industrial Hemp Act (Senate Bill 2298), which lifts the restrictions on the production of industrial hemp for commercial purposes. Growers licensed through the Department of Agriculture are legally allowed to cultivate and process hemp. Since 2014, the state had in place legislation that allowed the cultivation of industrial hemp, but for only agricultural or academic research purposes. The new law lifts those limitations.
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