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What Are the Penalties for Marijuana Possession in Illinois?
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What Are the Penalties for Marijuana Possession in Illinois

 

Medical marijuana is now legal in Illinois. For users with certain conditions – Alzheimer’s disease, cancer, fibromyalgia, glaucoma, lupus, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, and many others – you are allowed to have two and a half ounces of cannabis every 14 days. You must get the medical marijuana from state-licensed dispensaries, and you are unable to grow your own marijuana plants at home.

 

This is great news, and a great start for Illinois. But what if you don’t have a medical condition and want to use marijuana?

 

Unfortunately, recreational use and possession of marijuana is still a crime in Illinois with some serious penalties. Even though marijuana is legal for about 2,800 people in the Illinois Medical Cannabis Pilot Program, it is illegal for personal, non-medical use.

 

So let’s look at the marijuana laws that can still get you in trouble with fines and even jail time.

 

Possession of Marijuana

 

Possession of marijuana involves the intentionally or knowingly having marijuana on your person or property. Proving this requires two steps: first, that you are aware you are in possession of marijuana; and second, the substance in question is actually marijuana.

 

In Illinois, marijuana possession can be either a misdemeanor or a felony depending on the amount of marijuana you are in possession of.

 

Drug POssession Lawyer Chicago

 

Misdemeanor

If you are caught with 30 grams of marijuana or less – and it’s your first offense – you will be charged with a misdemeanor. The penalties for a misdemeanor marijuana possession charge are:

 

  • 5 grams or less is a Class C misdemeanor punishable by a fine up to $1,500 and up to 30 days in jail.
  • 5 grams up to 10 grams is a Class B misdemeanor punishable by a fine up to $1,500 and up to 6 months in jail.
  • 10 grams up to 30 grams is a Class A misdemeanor for a first offense, punishable by a fine up to $2,500 and up to 1 year in jail. If you are a subsequent or second offender, this amount of marijuana will be a felony.

 

Felony

If you are caught with more than 30 grams of marijuana, you will be charged with a felony. The only exception to that is if you are caught with 10-30 grams of marijuana for a second or subsequent time. The penalties for a felony marijuana possession charge are:

 

  • 10-30 grams for a second or subsequent offense is a Class 4 felony punishable by a fine up to $25,000 and 1 to 6 years in jail, with 1 year being the mandatory minimum sentence.
  • 30-500 grams for a first offense is a Class 4 felony punishable by a fine up to $25,000 and 1 to 6 years in jail, with 1 year being the mandatory minimum sentence.
  • 30-500 grams for a second or subsequent offense Class 3 felony punishable by a fine up to $25,000 and 2 to 10 years in jail, with 2 years being the mandatory minimum sentence.
  • 500-2,000 grams is a Class 3 felony punishable by a fine up to $25,000 and 2 to 10 years in jail, with 2 years being the mandatory minimum sentence.
  • 2,000-5,000 grams is a Class 2 felony punishable by a fine up to $25,000 and 3 to 14 years in jail, with 3 years being the mandatory minimum sentence.
  • Over 5,000 grams is a Class 1 felony punishable by a fine up to $25,000 and 4 to 30 years in jail, with 4 years being the mandatory minimum sentence.

 

Sale or Trafficking of Marijuana

 

If you are in possession of marijuana with the intent to sell or traffic, you can be charged for a misdemeanor if you have less than 10 grams of marijuana. If you have more than 10 grams of marijuana, you will be charged with a felony.

 

For a misdemeanor charge, you could see up to 1 year in jail with a fine up to $2,500.

 

For a felony charge, there is a mandatory minimum sentence of 1 year in jail for 10-30 grams of marijuana and a mandatory minimum sentence of 6 years in jail for more than 5,000 grams of marijuana.

 

If you deliver marijuana on school grounds, the fines and jail time will be increased. If you bring 2,500 grams or more of marijuana into Illinois, you will be charged with trafficking, which carries a mandatory minimum sentence twice the minimum sentence as the sale of marijuana.

 

Sale or Trafficking of Marijuana

 

Despite medical marijuana being legal in Illinois, you can see that being caught with marijuana for any other reason can have some serious consequences. That’s why if you’ve been charged with a marijuana offense, it’s important to contact an experienced marijuana charges attorney who will help you understand the charges against you and fight for your rights.

 

 

About The Author:

 

Howard J. Wise, the owner of the Illinois-based Law Offices of Howard J. Wise & Associates, is a criminal defense attorney who stands ready to assist clients in many different areas of the law, including criminal appeals, DUI, misdemeanors, traffic violations, and felonies. Mr. Wise began his legal career at the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office as the assistant state attorney, where he was able to gain unique prosecutorial experience. He then transitioned to criminal defense and currently devotes his practice exclusively to protecting the rights of those accused of crime.