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New Illinois Cannabis Laws And Drug Possession Charges

August 7, 2023

Recreational use of cannabis was once illegal throughout the United States, but laws have changed in many states recently. For example, as of Jan. 1, 2020, Illinois adults can purchase cannabis for recreational use in certain situations.

However, using marijuana is still illegal under federal law, so it is understandable to be concerned about potential drug possession charges. Keep reading to learn more, and if you have questions about a drug charge, our Chicago drug possession lawyers can help.

What Are The Current Recreational Cannabis Use Laws In Illinois?

In Illinois, people 21 and older can possess and use small amounts of marijuana. However, there are limits, so if you violate the following laws, you still could be charged with drug possession:

Marijuana use in the abovementioned amounts is legal in Illinois, but there are limits on where it can be consumed. For instance, you may not possess or use marijuana on school grounds. Nor may you have it in a private vehicle unless it is sealed and inaccessible to the driver. Also, it is illegal to smoke cannabis in a public setting on school grounds, in a motor vehicle, or where you cannot smoke tobacco.

Further, Illinois law says that your driver’s license may be suspended if you are under 21 and possess cannabis in a motor vehicle. A minor’s parent may be charged with a misdemeanor if they knowingly allow anyone under 21 to use marijuana in their vehicle or residence.

Delivering or selling cannabis in the state is prohibited except by approved marijuana business establishments. The following punishments apply if marijuana is bought or sold outside licensed dispensaries:

Illinois Cannabis Law FAQ

It is essential to fully understand the state’s new cannabis laws to avoid problems. Some of the most common questions about Illinois cannabis laws are:

Can I Grow My Own Marijuana?

Generally, no. Only a registered qualifying medical cannabis patient can grow up to five plants in their home. There are other restrictions on personal cultivation.

What Are The Rules For Transporting Marijuana In Illinois?

When a car is in operation, marijuana has to be in an odor-proof, sealed container. If you transport cannabis in any other container, you could be convicted of a Class A misdemeanor. Also, marijuana cannot be consumed in a motor vehicle, and you cannot transport it over state lines.

How Long Does It Take To Feel The Effects Of Marijuana?

Some users feel the effects of marijuana immediately, but you might not notice anything for at least 30 minutes for edibles. Many users do not feel marijuana effects for two to four hours after they consume it. Much depends on how often you use the drug, how it is used, and how much is consumed simultaneously.

Where Am I Allowed To Possess And Consume Marijuana?

Marijuana legalization does not allow someone under the influence of the drug to engage in activities that amount to professional misconduct, professional malpractice, or negligence. Also, you may not use cannabis in any motor vehicle, plane, or boat violating the Illinois Vehicle Code.

Remember, the new cannabis law prohibits smoking, eating, or vaping cannabis in any public setting. You may not use marijuana in a prohibited area or near anyone under 21 unless they are a registered medical patient. If you consume cannabis in a prohibited location, you could be charged with drug possession.

Can I Use Marijuana When Breastfeeding Or Pregnant?

No. THC found in marijuana may affect the fetus’s brain development. THC can be passed to the fetus before birth and via breast milk.

How Long After Using Marijuana Should I Wait To Drive?

If you are under the influence of marijuana behind the wheel, you could be arrested and convicted. The Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act does not mean you cannot be arrested and prosecuted for driving under the influence of marijuana. State law prohibits driving if your THC level is 5 nanograms in whole blood, or 10 grams in another bodily substance, within two hours of driving or being in control of a vehicle.

Why Should I Buy Marijuana From A Dispensary In Illinois?

First, a legal dispensary is the only place in Illinois where you can lawfully purchase small amounts of cannabis for recreational use. Second, cannabis sold at these authorized locations has been grown under careful testing and monitoring according to Illinois law. Cannabis bought from illegal places could be impure and contain dangerous chemicals or additives.

Why Does The Law Prohibit Marijuana Use Under Age 21?

The brain of anyone aged 10 to 25 can be more affected by THC than adult brains. Research suggests that the development and growth of the brain involved in decision-making and complex behaviors is significantly affected by THC. Teens who use cannabis often could permanently damage their prefrontal cortex, which limits their attention and learning ability.

Contact Our Chicago Drug Possession Lawyers Today

Illinois cannabis laws have changed, and recreational marijuana use is legal in certain circumstances. But it is still possible to run afoul of the law and get a drug possession charge. Ensure you completely understand the state’s cannabis laws before you purchase or consume marijuana. If you have been charged with drug possession, our Chicago drug possession lawyers at Law Offices of Vadim A. Glozman can help, so call (312) 726-9015.