Illinois Marijuana Limitations

What Happens if I am Under 21 and Caught Carrying or Using Cannabis?

Illinoisans may ask, "how much cannabis can I legally have?" Adults 21 years and older can possess and use up to 30 grams of cannabis for recreational purposes. Similarly, adults and minors can carry and use cannabis for medicinal purposes provided they have a debilitating medical illness and are participating in the Medical Cannabis Patient Program. Except for children authorized to use medical marijuana, Illinois prohibits persons under 21 years from using or carrying cannabis.

Minors exposed to cannabis will likely end up abusing the drug. Their brains are not fully developed, and using cannabis without supervision can do them some harm. According to findings by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), minors using cannabis can grow into having serious issues with coordination, learning, decision making, and balance. Currently, possession of cannabis by a minor in Illinois is a civil offense punishable by a fine of between $100 and $200. For violation occurring in a motor vehicle, a minor risks driver's license revocation or suspension.

Generally, Illinois has no tolerance for minors carrying or using controlled substances, including marijuana. The Illinois court system focuses more on rehabilitation than severe penalties for those under 21 years caught using or possessing cannabis and other scheduled substances. As such, Illinois punishes erring under-21 cannabis users by doing the following:

  • Place them on probation in a way that they will be required to attend check-in with a probation officer while attending school or work (for minors who are of legal working age). They will also participate in community service during the probation period
  • Counseling them and their parents or guardians on drugs
  • Have them complete a diversion program

However, in severe cases of minors' marijuana use or possession, they may be sent to juvenile detention facilities. Sending them to juvenile homes or sentencing them to foster care and home confinement is another punishment for critical cases or repeat violations of cannabis possession.

Where is it Legal to Smoke Weed in Illinois?

Weed is legal in Illinois, but this does not give anyone the right to consume it anywhere. Certain restrictions limit where and how state residents or visitors (tourists) can use cannabis. Illinoisans seeking answers to the question, "where can I use cannabis?" should know they can only consume it in private residences. The state prohibits recreational users from smoking weed in public areas where they can be observed by other people and places designated for smoking tobacco products. However, local governments are permitted to decide whether to allow on-site consumption at licensed dispensaries within their jurisdictions.

Illinois also forbids people from smoking weed in a moving or parked motor vehicle. It is also illegal to consume marijuana in the presence of persons under the age of 21 or on school grounds. Smoking weed on federal properties in Illinois is also forbidden because marijuana remains illegal on the national level.

Generally, Illinois bans smoking weed in places prohibited under the Smoke-Free Illinois Act. Such places include:

  • Hospitals, health care facilities, health care clinics, child care, adult care facilities, and other social service care centers
  • Bars, restaurants, taverns, and gaming facilities
  • Lobbies, reception areas, hallways, meeting rooms, waiting rooms, break rooms, and other common-use areas
  • Private clubs, auditoriums, enclosed or partially enclosed sports arenas, bowling alleys, skating rinks, convention facilities, and polling places
  • Public buildings, offices, elevators, restrooms, theaters, museums, libraries, schools, commercial establishments, enclosed shopping centers, and retail stores

Can I Carry Cannabis Around With Me?

Yes, but there are limits to the amount of marijuana anyone can carry on around in Illinois. Adults 21 years and older can carry a maximum of 5 grams of concentrates, 30 grams of marijuana, and 500 milligrams of THC in marijuana edibles legally. Out-of-state visitors can possess only half of these amounts.

Can I Leave Illinois with Cannabis?

It is illegal for anyone, resident or out-of-state visitor, to leave Illinois with cannabis by any method of transportation. While the federal government prohibits crossing state lines with marijuana because it is yet to legalize it on the national level, it is equally a violation of Illinois law to cross the state border with any form of cannabis product despite weed legalization. Typically, anyone who leaves the state with weed will most likely break multiple laws- Illinois' and the destination state' or even federal law. All cannabis bought in Illinois must be used and stored within the boundaries of the state. Even tourists who bought cannabis legally cannot leave Illinois with them.

Although the federal authorities already turned a blind eye to Illinois' marijuana legalization, they are still in charge of enforcing the laws where they have jurisdiction, including interstate commerce. Consequently, state borders where most interstate trading happens are under the jurisdiction of the federal government. Per Section 812 of Title 21 in the U.S. Code, the federal government considers cannabis a controlled substance. Hence, moving it from Illinois to other states is illegal and a federal offense. Moreso, not all the states in the U.S. have legalized cannabis, so leaving Illinois with weed to such places will be a crime on any occasion.

It is also a bad idea for anyone to attempt to leave Illinois with cannabis air. The routine screenings by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) focus primarily on detecting potential security threats to passengers and aircraft. Because marijuana possession is prohibited on the federal level, the TSA workers will refer anyone caught trying to leave Illinois with the substance to law enforcement.

Will Cannabis Affect My Driving Record in Illinois?

Yes. It is illegal to drive under the influence of cannabis in Illinois, and a conviction for this offense stays on an offender's driving record. A driver can get a DUI without actually being high. Typically, THC metabolites remain in the blood for some hours or days after using cannabis. Unfortunately, one can be charged with a DUI in Illinois even if they only used marijuana legally (especially medical cannabis). Illinois has strict DUI laws, and as such, persons who are new in the state must ensure to acquaint themselves with the driving laws before operating a motor vehicle.

A DUI of marijuana in Illinois is a misdemeanor offense that comes with varying punishments. The criminal penalties for a person convicted of a DUI of cannabis for a first offense may include:

  • Suspension or revocation of driver's license
  • Suspension of vehicle registrations
  • Fees to replace license
  • Various fines and fees
  • Likelihood of probation or jail time
  • DUI on offender's criminal record

These punishments impact offenders' driving records and may have other severe consequences on such persons' other records. Medical patients who drive around with open containers of marijuana in a motor vehicle risk losing driving privileges and may have their medical cannabis cards revoked.

Can I Get a DUI if I Drive While I am High?

Yes. According to 625 ILCS 5/11-501(a)(3)-(4), it is illegal for anyone to drive or operate a motor vehicle if under the influence of any drug or intoxicating compound to a level that renders them incapable of safely driving. Under state law, a person can be charged with DUI for operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of any controlled substance, including cannabis. The chemical component in marijuana responsible for the psychological (high) effects when consumed is Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Generally, when a person gets high from THC, they lack concentration, coordination, as well as suffer impaired vision and a temporary loss of memory. These, combined, usually impact a person's ability to drive safely.

Despite the legalization of medical marijuana in Illinois and the permission to use medical cannabis to treat debilitating medical conditions, drivers are not spared for DUI of marijuana. However, the mere presence of cannabis in a person's bloodstream is not a ticket for charging them with DUI. It takes a THC blood concentration of 5 nanograms or more per milliliter of blood to get charged with DUI in Illinois. Although registered medical marijuana patients in the state are exempt from the 5 nanograms maximum, they can still get charged with DUI of marijuana if using it intoxicates them and affects their driving pattern.

In Illinois, anyone who has a driver's license and drives a motor vehicle on the highways technically gives their consent for chemical tests of urine, blood, or breath to determine the level of any intoxicating compound in their blood. When law enforcement pulls a person over for suspicion of a marijuana DUI, such a driver is first subjected to a field sobriety test. These tests check for a driver's memory, balance, and vision but are specific to alcohol and may not thoroughly determine whether they are high on cannabis. However, law enforcement can request a driver to submit to a blood or urine test at the appropriate lab to determine the nana-liter level of THC if they feel strongly that such a person is under the influence of marijuana. Per 625 ILCS 5/11-501.6, persons who refuse to submit to this test risk driver's license suspension or revocation. Any proof of refusal is admissible in any criminal or civil action arising from that incident (625 ILCS 5/11-501.2(c)(1)).

Per 625 ILCS 5/11-501 (c)(1), (c)(2), and (d), a driver who fails a chemical test for THC levels in Illinois is charged with DUI and faces the following penalties:

First Offense

  • Loss of driver's license for between six months and one year
  • Fine of up to $2,500
  • Possible jail time of up to one year

Second Offense

  • Between three and five years loss of license
  • Fine of up to up to $2,500
  • Mandatory five days jail time or 30-day community service (for a second offense within a 5-year time frame)
  • Substance abuse counseling
  • A possible prison term of up to one year

Third and Subsequent Offense

  • Up to 6 years loss of driving privileges
  • Fine of up to $10,000
  • Possible jail time of up to 3 years
  • Mandatory drug treatment

Can I Buy Marijuana in Illinois?

Anyone 21 years or older can buy cannabis and marijuana products in Illinois, but they must possess a valid government-issued ID. Such an ID must also display the person's age. Currently, licensed dispensaries in the state accept cash and debit cards as payment methods. Checks or credit cards are not accepted as payment means at any Illinois marijuana dispensary. Illinois marijuana dispensaries offer a full range of cannabis products from flowers and edibles to oils, concentrates, vapes, oral sprays, tinctures, topicals, and capsules.

Anyone who purchases cannabis in Illinois and carries it in their car must keep it in a secured, sealed container where it is inaccessible to other people while driving. Experts recommend keeping it in the car trunk away from unauthorized access. Persons under 21 years in need of medical marijuana must have a medical marijuana card. They can get a medical marijuana card by obtaining a certificate from the doctor treating them for a debilitating condition and then apply online through the IDPH website. Generally, the marijuana that medical patients buy in Illinois is cheaper than that purchased by recreational users. They can also possess a higher amount of cannabis than recreational consumers.

Where Can I Buy Marijuana in Illinois?

Medical marijuana and recreational marijuana are legal in Illinois, but many Illinoisans still ask, "where can I buy cannabis?" Illinois licensed marijuana dispensaries are authorized to sell cannabis and cannabis-infused products to eligible persons. However, these dispensaries have a legal obligation to prioritize consumers with medical marijuana needs. The Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR) licenses dispensaries and performs other oversight functions on dispensing organizations. Illinois allows licensed marijuana vendors to operate between the hours of 6:00 a.m. and 10:00 p.m. daily.

How Much is Marijuana in Illinois?

Many reports have it that marijuana prices in Illinois are some of the highest in the United States. The average cost of cannabis in the state is $16 per gram. However, factors such as demand, supply, and tax rates determine the prices of cannabis. Also, the cost of recreational marijuana is usually higher than medical marijuana. Medical cannabis in a licensed dispensary costs $15 per gram, while recreational users pay $21 per gram for the same quantity of cannabis.

How Much Cannabis Can I Legally Have?

Illinois law permits eligible persons to possess a limited amount of cannabis on them per time. Worthy to state is that these amounts are a cumulative aggregate of concentrates, cannabis flowers, and cannabis-infused products up to the legal limit for each category of marijuana form. Legally, Illinois residents can carry up to 5 grams of concentrates, 30 grams of marijuana flower, and 500 milligrams of marijuana-infused products. Out-of-state residents can only possess half of these amounts. Also, medical marijuana patients can grow up to five plants for personal use at home, but recreational users are prohibited from doing so. Marijuana users can transport it in their motor vehicles but must carry it in a sealed and secured container.

Where is Weed Legal?

State Legal Status Medicinal Recreational
Alabama Criminalized No No
Alaska Decriminalized Yes Yes
Arizona Decriminalized Yes Yes
Arkansas Partly Decriminalized Yes No
Colorado Decriminalized Yes Yes
Connecticut Partly Decriminalized Yes Yes
Delaware Partly Decriminalized Yes Yes
District of Columbia Decriminalized Yes Yes
Florida Partly Decriminalized Yes No
Georgia Partly Decriminalized Accepts only CBD Oil No
Hawaii Partly Decriminalized Yes Yes
Idaho Decriminalized No No
Illinois Decriminalized Yes Yes
Indiana Partly Decriminalized Accepts only CBD Oil No
Iowa Partly Decriminalized Accepts only CBD Oil No
Kansas Decriminalized No No
Kentucky Partly Decriminalized Accepts only CBD Oil No
Louisiana Partly Decriminalized Yes No
Maine Decriminalized Yes Yes
Maryland Partly Decriminalized Yes Yes
Massachusetts Decriminalized Yes Yes
Michigan Decriminalized Yes Yes
Minnesota Partly Decriminalized Yes Yes
Mississippi Partly Decriminalized Yes Yes
Missouri Partly Decriminalized Yes Yes
Montana Decriminalized Yes Yes
Nebraska Decriminalized No Yes
Nevada Decriminalized Yes Yes
New Hampshire Partly Decriminalized Yes Yes
New Jersey Decriminalized Yes Yes
New Mexico Partly Decriminalized Yes Yes
New York Decriminalized Yes Yes
North Carolina Decriminalized No Yes
North Dakota Partly Decriminalized Yes Yes
Ohio Partly Decriminalized Yes Yes
Oklahoma Partly Decriminalized Yes No
Oregon Decriminalized Yes Yes
Pennsylvania Partly Decriminalized Yes No
Rhode Island Partly Decriminalized Yes Yes
South Carolina Decriminalized No No
South Dakota Decriminalized Yes Yes
Tennessee Decriminalized No No
Texas Partly Decriminalized Accepts only CBD Oil No
Utah Partly Decriminalized Yes No
Vermont Decriminalized Yes Yes
Virginia Partly Decriminalized Accepts only CBD Oil Yes
Washington Decriminalized Yes Yes
West Virginia Partly Decriminalized Yes No
Wisconsin Partly Decriminalized Accepts only CBD Oil No
Wyoming Decriminalized No No
In this section:
Illinois Marijuana Limitations