Marijuana Laws: The Ins and Outs in Illinois (Part 2)

marijuana possessionMARIJUANA LAWS : POSSESSION IS THE CRIME

Remember, when it comes to marijuana or any illicit drug, possession – not ownership – is the crime. “It isn’t mine,” is not a defense. Plus, if someone has marijuana in his or her car and gets pulled over by a police officer who smells it, the officer has probable cause to search the car.

  • Possession of less than 2.5 grams of marijuana is a Class C misdemeanor, punishable by a jail term of up to 30 days as well as a $1,500 fine.
  • Possession of between 2.5 – 10 grams of marijuana is a Class B misdemeanor, punishable by up to 6 months imprisonment as well as a $1,500 fine.
  • Possession of paraphernalia is a Class A misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in prison, as well as a minimum fine of $750. All paraphernalia is subject to forfeiture.

 MARIJUANA: LAWS VARY BY LOCALE

Depending on where you live and how much you have on you, getting caught with marijuana can either spell big trouble or an expensive fine.  Some towns and cities have local laws that allow police to write tickets instead of making arrests when people are caught in possession of small amounts of cannabis.

In Chicago, for example, possession of 15 grams or less of marijuana can be charged as a misdemeanor or as a more lenient ordinance violation, similar to a traffic ticket. Note, though, if caught with weed in a school zone or park or in public openly smoking marijuana, you’ll still get arrested! Those cited with Chicago ordinance violations will be forced to pay a fine up to $500 depending on the amount of cannabis in possession.

Unfortunately, these local laws are often misunderstood. First of all, an amount that is eligible for a ticket in one place may not be in another. The maximum amounts vary from 2.5g to 30g. In addition, there are many circumstances that can affect the violation, including:

  • Age.
  • The location (airport, school, park).
  • Prior convictions.

To learn more about Illinois marijuana laws, or the effects of marijuana visit RecoverGateway.org/marijuana.

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