Illinois Marijuana Possession Laws

Is Possession of Marijuana Legal in Illinois?

Yes. Both medical and recreational cannabis is legal in Illinois. Specifically, under Illinois’s Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Pilot Program Act, individuals with valid medical marijuana cards may possess up to 2.5 ounces of usable marijuana over 14 days derived solely from intrastate sources without civil recourse. 

Individuals requiring more than 2.5 ounces of marijuana may obtain signed written statements from certified health care professionals stating that 2.5 ounces of marijuana are inadequate to alleviate patients’ debilitating medical conditions or related symptoms.  Similarly, the Illinois Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act (ICRTA) permits individuals 21 years and older to possess up to 30 grams of marijuana.

  • Marijuana regulation in Illinois began with the Cannabis Control Act. Per the Act, the Department of Human Services became legally authorized to permit doctors to prescribe cannabis to patients with the Department of State Police's formal consent, but the department never did. 
  • In 2013, Illinois Legislation passed the Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Pilot Program Act. The law authorized the use of cannabis to treat patients with debilitating qualifying medical conditions such as autism, HIV, cancer, chronic pain, and Parkinson's disease. 
  • In 2016, Illinois decriminalized marijuana possession by imposing a fine of $100 to $200 for individuals caught with 10 grams or less of cannabis. 
  • The ICRTA, enacted in 2019, legalized persons 21 years and older to possess, use and consume limited quantities of cannabis for recreational purposes. The Act also created the licensing structure for cannabis businesses and authorized the expungement of records of cannabis possession under 30 grams before legalization.
  • Under the ICRTA, the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation takes care of licensing and oversight of dispensing organizations, dispensary agents, and agent education providers, amongst other administrative functions.

How Much Weed Is a Felony in Illinois?

An Illinois resident 21 years and older caught in possession of more than 30 grams of cannabis flower, 5 grams of cannabis concentrate, and more than 500 milligrams of THC cannabis-infused products is guilty of a felony. 

Similarly, an out-of-state resident 21 years and older caught in possession of more than 15 grams of cannabis flower, 2.5 grams of cannabis concentrate, and more than 250 milligrams of THC cannabis-infused product are guilty of a felony. The ICRTA prohibits anyone below 21 from possessing, transporting, purchasing, using, or consuming cannabis. An individual caught with cannabis beyond the legal limit may face a penalty ranging from a misdemeanor to a felony. Factors that affect determine the severity of the penalty include: 

  • Amount of Marijuana.
  • Age of the offender
  • Prior offenses
  • Location of offense  

However, under the Compassionate Use of Medical Marijuana Act, an individual 18 years and older may possess marijuana for medical use. The Act also permits a medical marijuana patient or their caregiver to cultivate 5 mature marijuana plants within the confines of their home. An individual caught growing more than 5 marijuana plants may be charged with a felony.

What Are the Penalties for 1st Time Offense of Possession of Weed in Illinois?

Illinois courts only offer more lenient punishments for first-time offenders in possession of between 30 to 100 grams of marijuana. Individuals caught with 30 to 100 grams of marijuana may be charged with a misdemeanor, face up to 1 year in jail, and pay a fine of up to $2500 for first-time offenders. Subsequent offenses are felonies, attracting longer jail time and more significant penalties. 

Where to Buy Legal Weed in Illinois

Individuals may only purchase medical, recreational, and marijuana-infused products and paraphernalia from licensed marijuana dispensaries in the state. Note that Illinois permits marijuana dispensaries to only operate between 6.00 A.M and 10.00 P.M daily. All sales and purchases of weed must happen within this time. 

How Old Do You Have to Be to Buy Weed in State

Under the ICRTA, individuals 21 years and older may legally purchase cannabis from licensed marijuana dispensaries in Illinois for recreational purposes. However, qualifying patients over 18 years with valid Illinois-issued medical marijuana cards may purchase marijuana from licensed marijuana dispensaries. 

In Illinois, marijuana consumption or use is legal for individuals of all ages with a valid medical marijuana card. Per the Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Program Act, individuals under 18 years may consume marijuana for medical purposes, provided they obtain parental consent. However, the minor’s parent, legal guardian, or designated caregiver must be responsible for purchasing, carrying, and administering marijuana to the minor.  Minors can not purchase medical marijuana without the help of their designated caregiver or parents. Licensed marijuana dispensaries can only sell marijuana to individuals with a valid government-issued identity card.

How Much Weed Can You Carry in Illinois?

In Illinois, eligible individuals may have limited quantities of cannabis per time.  The state permits residents to carry up to 5 grams of concentrates, 30 grams of marijuana flower, and 500 milligrams of marijuana-infused products. 

On the other hand, out-of-state residents may carry only 2.5g of concentrates, 15 grams of marijuana flower, and 250 milligrams of marijuana-infused products. However, exemptions exist for medical marijuana patients with the prerequisite authorization. The state also mandates that an individual transporting marijuana in a motor vehicle must transport it in a sealed and secure container.

Illinois prohibits the possessions of marijuana in the following locations:

  • Correctional facilities.
  • School bus unless authorized by the Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Program Act for a qualified patient or caregiver.
  • School premises unless authorized by the Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Program Act for a qualified patient or caregiver.
  • Federal lands and properties.
  • Private residents used to provide child care services. 

What Happens if You Get Caught With Weed Under 18 in Illinois?

Per the ICRTA, it is illegal for individuals under 21 years to possess, transfer or use cannabis except where authorized by the Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Program Act or the Community College Cannabis Vocational Pilot Program

As such, juvenile possession of marijuana is a civil offense, punishable by a fine of $100 - $200. In addition, the individual may be placed on probation, made to complete a diversion program, or undergo counseling. If the minor was caught with marijuana or intoxicated with marijuana while driving in a vehicle, they could have their driver's license suspended or revoked.

How Many Marijuana Plants Can You Have in Illinois?

Per the Illinois Compassionate Use of Marijuana Act, medical marijuana patients or their caregivers may cultivate up to 5 mature marijuana plants no more than 5 inches tall under certain conditions. These conditions are:

  • The grower is an adult who is at least 21 years old.
  • The grower is a member of a household that owns the property or has obtained the owner's consent.
  • The grower is limited to growing 5 or fewer plants.
  • The grower must grow cannabis out of public view.
  • The grower must keep cannabis in a separate locked room away from household members who are under 21.

The state prohibits individuals from growing marijuana recreationally. Individuals 21 years and older caught cultivating up to 5 marijuana plants without medical marijuana cards may be charged with a violation punishable by a $200 fine. 

How Much Weed Can You Fly With from Illinois?

Individuals embarking on flights within the state of Illinois are entitled to transport marijuana within the confines of the ICRTA. However, due to federal law, interstate travel with any quantity of marijuana is prohibited. 

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is obligated to alert local authorities if an individual is attempting to travel across state boundaries with marijuana. The local authority will then assess the situation in accordance with the state laws. If it is determined that the individual is an eligible adult and also carries within the permitted amount of marijuana, the authorities will not stop or arrest such an individual. 

At Illinois airports, travelers may deposit any marijuana in their possession in the various travel amnesty bins located at various points in the airport. 

Is It Illegal to Be High in Public in Illinois?

No. Eligible individuals legally permitted to consume marijuana are permitted to be high in public without civil recourse. Per Illinois Municipal Code, municipal administrations are forbidden by state law from criminalizing public intoxication. Illinois views intoxication as a medical or social problem and promotes treatment over punishment for offenders. However, the state prohibits the public intoxication of minors in public and only issues exemptions for medical marijuana patients. 

On the other hand, it is illegal for an eligible individual to undertake certain tasks under the influence of cannabis when doing so would constitute negligence, professional malpractice, or professional misconduct. For example, it is illegal for eligible individuals to

  • Drive after using marijuana.
  • Use of a firearm after using marijuana.
  • Operate an aircraft after using marijuana.
  • Operate a snow boat after using marijuana.
  • Operate machinery or lift heavy equipment after using marijuana.

In Illinois, a drug-impaired person who may be a danger to himself or a person may be taken into protective custody by the police and immediately sent to an emergency medical facility. The same applies to persons who seem to be unconscious or in immediate need of emergency medical assistance and exhibit signs of marijuana intoxication. 

Illinois Marijuana Possession Laws
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