How Do Cannabis Laws Work In The State Of Illinois?

If you’re like us, you’re probably thinking it would just be easier if each state legalized cannabis so we could all get on with our days and not have to worry about what we can and can’t do. But, the reality is that some states have very harsh laws regarding cannabis possession and use.

How Do Cannabis Laws Work In The State Of Illinois?

If you’re looking to light up a joint with some buddies in Illinois State, you need to be fully aware of the laws surrounding marijuana first. If you’re not careful, you could face varying penalties, from expensive fines to jail time.

So, is Illinois as strict as other states when it comes to marijuana? The good news is that the law is quite mellow in its approach to cannabis possession and consumption. 

Since January 1, 2020, anyone over the age of 21 can legally possess, use, and purchase cannabis in the state of Illinois.

Want to find out more about how cannabis laws work in Illinois? Well, stick around as we guide you through what you can and can’t do in the Prairie State. 

Illinois Cannabis Laws

Cannabis laws changed in Illinois at the beginning of 2020. From January 1st, 2020, it became legal for adults over the age of 21 to purchase, possess, and use cannabis for the first time.

Marijuana can be used with an on-premises usage license and on private property. However, this is at the discretion of the property owner. 

Before you head out and start smoking a joint in the park, though, you need to understand public usage laws. Although marijuana is legal on private premises, public consumption of marijuana remains illegal in Illinois.

This includes areas such as streets, parks, and places adjacent to officially licensed dispensaries. 

It is also illegal to smoke or use cannabis in any form when inside a vehicle. And yes, this applies to both moving and non-moving vehicles. Operating a vehicle under the influence of marijuana is also illegal.

However, the transportation of cannabis is allowed in a vehicle, but it must not be accessible by any other person within the motor. It must also be stored in a container that is child-proof.  

If you purchase cannabis in Illinois, it can not be transported to any other state. Even if this occurs by accident, if you are found with marijuana in another state, you could face serious penalties.

Currently, you can buy marijuana at licensed dispensaries. Most of these are open until 10 pm. But, you can not buy weed products from these dispensaries outside the hours of 6 am and 10 pm. 

Who Can Buy Recreational Cannabis In Illinois? 

As we have discussed, adults who are 21 years of age or older can buy cannabis from licensed dispensaries and sellers in Illinois state. This is possible whether you have a medical marijuana card or not.

Nevertheless, you must show a government-issued photo ID clearly stating your date of birth upon entry. 

Immigrants and non-US citizens are prohibited from buying, selling, or even possessing any amount of cannabis in Illinois. This is because it is not legal under federal law. If caught, foreign citizens may be deported or face immigration status consequences.

How Much Marijuana Can You Possess?

For any residents over the age of 21, the amount of cannabis they can possess is as follows:

  • Around one ounce (30 grams) of marijuana flower
  • 5 grams of cannabis concentrated, such as kief (cannabis crystals), dab, or oils
  • 500 milligrams of THC stored in cannabis-infused products, such as edibles

For US citizens who live outside of Illinois, you can hold half of these amounts when visiting the state. 

Again, non-US citizens and immigrants can not possess any cannabis. 

Can You Grow Marijuana In Illinois? 

How Do Cannabis Laws Work In The State Of Illinois?

Although buying, possessing, and using recreational marijuana is legal for anyone 21 years old or older, only those with medical marijuana cards can currently grow cannabis in Illinois.

Even these individuals only have a five-plant limit. Under no circumstances can someone without a medical marijuana card grow marijuana. 

What Are The Penalties For Breaking Illinois Cannabis Laws?

Unsurprisingly, there will usually be legal penalties if you are caught breaking these cannabis laws. If you are caught operating a vehicle under the influence of marijuana, you will be arrested. This includes cars, trucks, motorcycles, and boats. 

To learn more about the consequences for non-US citizens, click here.

Where Can You Legally Possess Cannabis In Illinois? 

It is against the law to possess marijuana in any of the following locations:

  • In government-funded housing (under section 8)
  • On any kind of federal land in the state of Illinois (national parks etc.)
  • In public spaces, such as recreational areas, wildlife areas, parks, beaches, front porches, outdoor stairwells, and playgrounds (leased, owned, or managed by the state)
  • When you’re traveling across state borders

Furthermore, it is illegal to smoke cannabis under the following circumstances:

  • On a private property where the owner has not approved its use (person, landlord, business, or college)
  • In proximity to an individual who is under 21 years of age
  • In or on any motorized vehicle

Is It Possible To Get Prior Charges Dropped From Your Record? 

If you have a prior conviction for possessing under 30 grams of cannabis, the government will automatically review your record. This is as long as the conviction was not associated with a more serious type of crime, such as violence. 

If you were convicted for possessing 30 to 500 grams of marijuana, then it is possible to petition the government in order to try and clear your criminal record. 

In Summary 

Illinois state is quite laid back about its marijuana laws, especially when you compare it to other states in the U.S. However, these laws do not mean you can use cannabis wherever you like.

Next time you want to light up a blunt in Illinois, come back to this article to make sure you’re not breaking any laws. 

David Barton
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