Illinois Marijuana Trafficking Laws

Can You Mail Weed Legally in Illinois?

No, it is a federal offense to mail weed from Illinois to other states in the US. Residents can carry a limited amount within the state but should not send cannabis via the United States Postal Service. The USPS is a federal agency that prohibits the transportation of marijuana and other illegal controlled substances classified under Section 812 of Title 21 of the US Code.

Mailing weed via private companies like UPS, DHL, and FedEx is also unlawful as these services report illegal parcels to law enforcement agencies. Some third-party companies may allow persons to mail CBD products, hemp, and other low-THC cannabis-infused products. Thanks to the 2018 Hemp Farming Act, the US Postal Service also allows registered hemp producers in Illinois to mail hemp products with low THC content.

What Are the Penalties for Transporting Edibles Across State Lines in Illinois?

Possession of edibles or cannabis-infused products is legal in Illinois but remains illegal in the US. As such, interstate transportation of edibles is a federal offense. Offenders caught carrying up to 50 kilograms across state borders may face up to five years in jail and a fine of up to $250,000.00. Subsequent convictions for illegal marijuana transportation can lead to 10 years in jail and a $500,000.00 fine. Residents should note that the penalties may be more severe depending on whether or not it's a first offense, the quantity of weed, and whether or not there was serious bodily injury or death.

Cannabis edibles are food items infused with weed. Edibles can be in the form of drinks, candies, brownies, or gummies. Many people prefer to ingest cannabis this way instead of smoking to avoid the smell. Edibles may also be recommended for medical reasons. Residents of Illinois may purchase or possess edibles with a maximum of 500 milligrams of THC or an equal mixture.

How to Get a Drug Trafficking Charge Dismissed in Illinois

The penalties for Illinois drug trafficking vary based on different factors such as the amount found on suspects. However, it is possible to get a drug trafficking charge dismissed in Illinois.

With the help of legal representatives, offenders facing drug trafficking charges may choose drug diversion programs in Illinois. These diversion programs, sometimes fee-based, allow drug offenders to pay fines and court fees and enroll in rehabilitation courses. After completing the program, offenders who fulfill all necessary obligations will have their drug charges dismissed. An example of a diversion program in Illinois is the 410 probation according to 720 ILCS 570/410. The program often runs for 24 months, with participants following strict regulations such as:

  • Taking regular drug evaluations
  • Hours of community service
  • Paying fines
  • Refraining from firearm possession.

Defendants facing drug trafficking charges in Illinois can have their cases dismissed by proving to the court that the arresting officer made a mistake. The defense can also prove that the intent was not to manufacture or sell the drugs illegally.

In Illinois, an illegal search by the investigating officer may be a solid defense for dismissing a drug trafficking charge. It is generally unconstitutional for law enforcement to search a resident's personal property without a search warrant. Any evidence obtained by an unauthorized search is inadmissible in court.

Illinois courts may dismiss charges where evidence is insufficient. Law enforcement officers repeatedly presume that suspects found with or around marijuana are engaged in trafficking. However, this presumption is not enough for a conviction.

Drug Trafficking Facts in Illinois

According to 720 ILCS 570/401.1, drug trafficking occurs in Illinois when an individual "knowingly" brings illegal drugs into the state or receives the drugs from outside the state. This implies that Illinois drug trafficking is mainly defined by the importation and exportation of illicit drugs regardless of the mode of transportation.

The Illinois Controlled Substance Trafficking Act does not specify the amount of controlled substance that qualifies for drug trafficking. However, the Act was created to shut down large drug cartels and international drug rings in Illinois. This explains why Illinois drug trafficking charges are often associated with large amounts of cocaine, heroin, and fentanyl. Individuals arrested for these crimes will also face charges for drug distribution or possession to distribute.

The Illinois State Police (ISP) is the statewide law enforcement agency tasked with enforcing laws against controlled substances. According to the ISP's 2020 Annual Uniform Crime Report, the state recorded more than 38,000 drug arrests. Of the recorded drug crimes, 8,528 persons were arrested for violating the Cannabis Control Act, while 17,425 persons violated the Controlled Substance Act.

The Illinois Circuit Court in the county of arrest hears drug cases while the state's Attorney's Office handles prosecution. Federal agencies like the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) handle enforcement at the federal level.

How Many Grams of Weed Is Considered Trafficking in Illinois?

According to Section 5.1 of the Illinois Cannabis Control Act, a person is guilty of marijuana trafficking if they unlawfully bring more than 2,500 grams of weed into Illinois. Weed trafficking in Illinois is also defined as the intent to deliver or manufacture cannabis. Although many suspects have been charged with trafficking marijuana under Illinois law, the crime is sometimes prosecuted as a federal offense. Note that Illinois has laws governing the possession, production, and distribution of cannabis, that are different from laws governing other controlled substances. While the Cannabis Control Act covers weed trafficking, the Controlled Substance Trafficking Act governs general drug trafficking.

What Are the Weed Trafficking Consequences in Illinois?

Weed trafficking crimes in Illinois may be prosecuted at the state or federal level. Under the state's Cannabis Control Act, individuals found importing or exporting 2,500 grams of weed may face class 1 felony charges. Convicted persons may spend between 8 and 30 years in state prison and pay a $300,000.00 fine. For offenders accused of trafficking more than 5,000 grams of weed, the possible jail sentence varies between 12 and 60 years, with a $400,000.00 fine. Here are some of the punishments for trafficking marijuana under federal law:

  • 5-year jail sentence for trafficking below 50 kilograms of cannabis or 49 marijuana plants. This also includes up to $250,000.00 in fines for an individual, or $1,000,000.00 if not an individual.
  • Up to 20 years jail time for trafficking between 50 and 100 kilograms of weed or the same number of marijuana plants. This also includes up to $1,000,000.00 in fines for an individual, or up to $5,000,000.00, if not an individual.
  • Up to 40 years jail time for trafficking between 100 and 200 kilograms of weed or the same number of marijuana plants. The charges also include up to $5,000,000.00 as an individual’s fine or $25,000,000.00 if not an individual.
  • Possible life sentence for trafficking more than 1,000 kilograms of weed or the same number of marijuana plants. The fine is $10,000,000.00 for an individual or up to $50,000,000.00 if not an individual.

Generally, the penalties become stiffer if the offender has a previous criminal conviction or was carrying an illegal firearm. Residents should note that the nature of the stop and seizure will determine if the offender will face federal or state charges.

How to Transport Weed Legally in Illinois

Transporting weed within Illinois is only legal for residents above 21 years if carrying not more than 30 grams of marijuana. Non-residents with valid government-issued ID cards can move around with up to 15 grams of cannabis flower. When traveling around Illinois with weed, it is important to leave the cannabis in a sealed, child-resistant, and odor-proof covering. Consuming weed while operating a vehicle is illegal in Illinois. It is also an offense to drive while under the influence of weed. Offenders often face DUI penalties, including months in jail and driver's license suspensions.

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Illinois Marijuana Trafficking Laws