New marijuana legislation comes before Illinois General Assembly

A person's life can be vastly impacted if they are accused and found guilty of possessing marijuana here in Illinois. This is even the case for small amounts. A first offense of possessing 30 grams or less of marijuana is a misdemeanor offense under state law. The penalties for such a first offense vary, but can be up to a twelve-month jail sentence. Depending on the specific amount involved, accusations of a second offense of possession of 30 grams or less of marijuana could lead to a person facing felony charges that carry a mandatory minimum jail sentence with them.

Recently, two bills were introduced in the Illinois General Assembly that are aimed at changing how Illinois law treats possession of 30 grams or less of marijuana. 

One bill would reduce the offense level of this amount of marijuana possession to a petty offense and would make it so the penalty for this offense would only be a $100 ticket.

The other bill would go even farther. It would make it so possession of 30 grams or less of marijuana by individuals who are over 21 was no longer an offense under Illinois law.

What impacts do you think current Illinois law regarding the possession of small amounts of marijuana has on Illinois citizens, law enforcement, government spending and Illinois as a whole? Do you think the law should be changed? What do you think of the two above-mentioned bills that have proposed changes to this law? Do you think either should be passed? Do you think either will be passed?

Sources: Daily Herald, "Elgin lawmaker wants to blunt penalties for marijuana possession," Erin Hegarty, Feb. 23, 2015

Huffington Post, "Illinois Marijuana Bill Could Dramatically Decrease Arrests Of Young Black Men," Kim Bellware, Feb. 6, 2015

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