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Understanding Marijuana Charges in Illinois

Posted on in Drugs and Narcotics

Chicago criminal defense attorneysA total of 29 states have adopted medical marijuana laws and eight have legalized the drug for recreational use. Several others have also started to decrease the legal consequences for illegal possession of cannabis and related products. Illinois was one of the ones to recently join these ranks, bringing fairly substantial changes to the state’s approach to charges related to marijuana.

Small Possessions Considered a Civil Penalty

Last year, Governor Bruce Rauner approved the decriminalization of possession of small amounts of marijuana. Now, citizens found with up to 10 grams of the drug receive only a civil penalty, which is similar to a traffic ticket. Consequences include a fine of $100 to $200 per offense. In addition, citations are automatically expunged twice per year.

Overall, this is seen by many as a massive improvement on the previous law, which made possession of up to 10 grams of marijuana a Class B misdemeanor, punishable by up to six months in jail and a fine of up to $1,500. Further, the charge also became part of the individual’s criminal record, potentially impacting his or her ability to find employment or housing. Expungement had to be pursued separately and was not automatic like it is now.

However, it should still be noted that police are still arresting for marijuana possession, and the cannabis decriminalization does not apply to larger amounts or items that could be considered marijuana paraphernalia. Driving under the influence of marijuana is also against the law and could result in charges as well.

Consequences for Greater Quantities

While small amounts of marijuana are no longer considered criminal offenses, possession of anything above 10 grams of marijuana is still considered a crime. Those in possession of more than 10 grams but less than 30 grams can be charged with a Class B misdemeanor. Those in possession of more than 30 grams but not more than 100 grams can be charged with a Class A misdemeanor (the most severe misdemeanor). The remaining possession amounts are all felony charges, ranging from a Class 4 to a Class 1, depending on the amount possessed. It is also important to note that certain possessions could be referred to the federal government for prosecution.

Contact a Criminal Defense Lawyer

If you or someone you love is facing charges for a marijuana-related DUI or drug possession charge, it is critical that you seek experienced legal assistance. Contact an experienced Chicago drug crimes defense attorney for help today. We will work to protect your rights and fight for the most favorable outcome possible. Call 773-276-5541 and schedule a free consultation to learn more.







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