Illinois Marijuana Laws


Questions about Illinois Marijuana Laws? Our expert attorneys explain everything you need to know.

Illinois Marijuana Laws

As of January 1, 2020, both medical and recreational marijuana, interchangeably referred to as cannabis, are legal in Illinois. Following the enactment of this law, Illinois became the 11th state in the country to legalize the use of recreational marijuana. 

With so many new changes in legislation, it is crucial that you understand the modifications to state laws and how they can impact you. Learn everything you need to know about Illinois marijuana laws here from the criminal defense lawyers at The Law Offices of Andrew Nickel.

2020 Illinois Marijuana Law Overview

The Illinois General Assembly passed HB 1438 on May 31, 2019, and the bill was signed into law by Governor JB Pritzker on June 25, 2019. This law permits legal cannabis use and sale in the state for those who are over the age of 21, with a few stipulations. 

The Illinois Marijuana Law’s Restrictions

There are limitations on the quantity of cannabis an individual can legally have in their possession. The law specifies that an individual can possess up to 30 grams (about one ounce) of cannabis plant products. Those over the legal age limit can purchase cannabis-infused products amounting to no greater than 500mg of THC and as much as 5 grams of cannabis concentrate items from licensed dispensaries. Any non-Illinois residents will have the ability to acquire half of those quantities. 

There are also restrictions on where legal users can smoke cannabis. Recreational marijuana consumption is restricted to private residences. It also cannot be used in motor vehicles, on school grounds, near anyone under the age of 21, or near an on-duty police officer, school bus driver, corrections officer, or firefighter. While many of these restrictions are waived for medical marijuana patients, the lines can be blurred, so you may want to consult an attorney to ensure that you fully understand how the law applies to your unique situation.

Illinois Cannabis Law & Expungement for Prior Offenders

The new Illinois cannabis law permits those who were convicted of possession of fewer than 30 grams of cannabis prior to legalization to have their records reviewed by the Prisoner Review Board and Governor Pritzker for pardon. If a pardon is given, then the state’s attorney general will proceed to expunge the record of the offense.

Those convicted of having greater quantities of cannabis will need to petition for an expungement themselves. Our lawyers in St. Charles IL can help you pursue this option if you fall into this category.

Illinois Recreational Marijuana Law

As mentioned above, Illinois’ January 1, 2020 recreational marijuana legalization measure means that Illinois citizens are allowed to possess as much as 30 grams of marijuana for adult use. Those living outside the state may carry as much as 15 grams for adult use. Anything in excess of these numbers may bring criminal penalties, which must be aggressively fought with the help of a trusted criminal defense lawyer.

The possession of between 30 and 100 grams of marijuana in Illinois is a misdemeanor for a first offender and is punishable by up to a year in jail and a fine of $2,500. On a subsequent offense, ownership of between 30 and 100 grams is a felony in Illinois, with the maximum penalty increasing to 3 years in prison and $25,000 in fines. The same penalties apply to anybody in possession of between 100 and 500 grams.

If the amount of possession is between 500 and 2000 grams, the prospective prison sentence is between 2 and 5 years, and fines of approximately $25,000 are possible. Those charged with possession of between 2000 and 5000 grams may face a mandatory minimum prison sentence of 3 years, which may rise to up to 7 years, and a fine of up to $25,000 is possible. Quantities of more than 5000 grams may bring a prison sentence of between 4 and 15 years.

Illinois Medical Marijuana Laws

Illinois’ medical cannabis legislation was signed into law in 2013, enabling qualifying patients to lawfully obtain and possess marijuana for medical use. The Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Program Act protects qualifying patients from “arrest, prosecution, or denial of any right or privilege.” Clients with valid IDPH identification cards may acquire medical cannabis from a licensed dispensary in greater quantities than a recreational user. 

The quantity of medical marijuana a patient may purchase is an “adequate supply” of 2.5 ounces over a period of 14 days. However, patients may apply for a waiver enabling the possession of more than 2.5 ounces if a doctor offers a written declaration verifying that 2.5 ounces are inadequate to ease the patient’s debilitating condition. If you’ve been charged with possession of more than 2.5 ounces as a medical marijuana patient, contact our attorneys for legal advice and advocacy. 

There are currently dozens of qualifying conditions for a medical marijuana card in the state of Illinois. Qualifying conditions include autism, Alzheimer’s disease, HIV/AIDS, cancer, chronic pain, epilepsy, muscular dystrophy, multiple sclerosis, osteoarthritis, PTSD, Tourette’s syndrome, and traumatic brain injury. A full list of qualifying debilitating conditions can be found here.

To qualify for a medical marijuana card in the state of Illinois, a number of credentials need to be satisfied before signing up with the IDPH. Patients need to:

  • Have no felony convictions
  • Be a legal resident of Illinois with evidence of residency
  • Have a doctor’s medical diagnosis and medical records validating a debilitating medical condition
  • Acquire a written recommendation from a certified Illinois doctor verifying you are a qualifying patient

Qualifying patients should be at least 18 years of age or older to sign up with the IDPH. Minors may qualify if their parent or guardian completes an application for minors form and gets a second doctor’s recommendation.

Illinois Weed Laws Regarding Sale & Cultivation

Although recreational and medical cannabis have been legalized in Illinois, there are still strict laws regarding the unlicensed sale and cultivation of marijuana. Unlicensed sale of marijuana in Illinois is a misdemeanor Illinois if the quantity is less than 10 grams. For amounts of less than 2.5 grams, the possible penalties include a jail term of up to 6 months and a maximum fine of $1,500. Possible penalties for the sale of 2.5 to 10 grams are up to one year in jail and a maximum fine of $2,500.

The unlicensed sale of more than 10 grams of marijuana is a felony in Illinois. If the amount sold is between 10 and 30 grams, the penalty is one to 3 years in prison, and the offender may face prospective fines of $25,000. For quantities between 30 and 500 grams, the penalties include a prison sentence of between 2 and 5 years and fines of as much as $50,000. The potential penalties for the sale of between 500 and 2000 grams of marijuana include a prison term of 3 to 7 years and a fine of $100,000. For 2000 to 5000 grams, the jail term is between 4 and 15 years, and a fine of up to $150,000 is possible. If the amount sold surpasses 5000 grams, the offender may face 6 to 30 years in prison and fines of approximately $200,000.

Cultivating cannabis is not legal in Illinois unless the grower is registered in the state’s medical cannabis program. Registered medical marijuana patients may cultivate up to five plants at any one time. For non-patients, cultivating up to 5 plants is a civil infraction punishable by a fine of as much as $200. If the offender is caught growing 5 or more plants, the offense is considered a felony. Growing between 5 and 20 cannabis plants is punishable by one to 3 years of prison time and fines of as much as $25,000. For 20 to 50 plants, the possible prison term increases to between 2 and 5 years. Cultivating between 50 and 200 plants is punishable by between 3 and 7 years in prison and fines of $100,000. For cultivating more than 200 plants, the prospective prison term is 4 to 15 years and the maximum possible fine is $100,000.

It is also a misdemeanor to be in possession of drug paraphernalia Illinois with more than 10 grams of cannabis. The penalty for this crime is up to one year in jail and $2,500 in fines. Cannabis paraphernalia consists of any products created for cultivation, growing, harvesting, analysis, storage, concealment, or use of marijuana. Selling paraphernalia is a felony charge carrying the potential for between one and 3 years in jail and fines of up to $25,000. Selling paraphernalia to a minor brings even greater penalties; these include between 2 and 5 years in prison and $25,000 in fines. Selling to a pregnant woman brings even greater charges; these include 3 to 7 years in jail and a fine of up to $25,000. 

These charges should never be taken lightly, and you need the best criminal lawyer Yorkville has to offer. Contact the Law Offices of Andrew Nickel to explore your legal options.

Contact an Attorney About Illinois Cannabis Laws

If you’re facing criminal charges or have been arrested for the possession, sale, or cultivation of marijuana, it’s easy to feel stressed and worried about your future. A cannabis felony or misdemeanor on your record, and even just a record of an arrest, can make it difficult for you to find and maintain a job, access educational opportunities, and secure housing. At the Law Offices of Andrew Nickel, our cannabis defense attorney knows how much is at stake for you. That’s why we’ll fight hard on your behalf, and we’ll fight to win.

We’ll work for an acquittal whenever possible, and we will not accept a plea deal unless it’s truly in your best interest. We are skilled trial attorneys with a record of outstanding results for our clients. Our expert investigation skills, careful attention to detail, and passion for helping good people get out of tough situations all enable us to effectively alleviate damage to your reputation and record. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation.