Starting in 2020, marijuana for recreational use for adults who are at least 21 will be legal in Illinois. The Illinois Cannabis Regulation and Taxation Act was signed by the governor on June 25. Illinois is now the eleventh state to make recreational marijuana legal. There are also medical marijuana laws in 33 states.
There is one major difference in the law in Illinois and those passed in other states. Criminal convictions for possessing under 30 grams of marijuana can be expunged under the new law. Furthermore, some taxes from marijuana sales are supposed to go toward groups who suffer adverse effects from enforcement of drug laws.
Residents will be able to buy up to 30 grams of marijuana from licensed dispensaries while nonresidents will be permitted to buy 15. Patients who qualify under the state medical marijuana law may be allowed to grow it. Use and possession of marijuana in public will continue to be illegal, and drivers must keep it in an inaccessible container. It is also not permitted on school grounds or in the presence of people who are younger than 21. Employers are permitted to keep zero-tolerance drug policies.
People should not assume that because this law has been passed, they do not have to worry about marijuana-related offenses or other drug charges. A drug conviction can still have serious consequences for a person. This could include legal consequences as well as affecting a person’s career and even access to some housing and financial aid for school. An attorney may be able to get charges reduced or dismissed or might be able to defend a person in a trial against drug charges. If the search and seizure process was flawed or a person’s rights were violated in another way, it might be possible to get evidence excluded or the case dropped.