Decriminalization of Marijuana in Illinois

4 ILLINOIS LOCATIONS

Deerfield Litchfield Mokena Morris

Posted on August 24th, 2016 by Greenhouse Staff

As of July 29, 2016, if you are found in possession of small amounts of marijuana, it is a civil offense rather than a criminal violation in the state of Illinois. The decriminalization of marijuana in Illinois makes Illinois the 21st state to decriminalize the possession of certain amounts of marijuana. Chicago and other local governments in the state of Illinois had taken measures to decriminalize, but with this law, the entire state is included.

What Does This Mean?

With this law in place, possession of ten grams or less will lead to a fine of $100.00 to $200.00 and no jail time. Previously, one could face up to six months in jail and a $1,500.00 fine for possession of anything more than 2.5 grams of marijuana. In addition to severe decreases in punishment, criminal records will be expunged after each year.

Currently, Illinois has nearly 50,000 marijuana-related arrests every year. Supporters of the bill stressed that 98% of these are for small amounts that are meant for personal use. The money spent on jails for these minor offenses is extremely high, and, proponents of the bill argued that this money could be better allocated.

Reactions

As with any controversial bill, there were many in support of it, as well as those against it. Those that are against the new law believe that this will “lead to increased drug use and addiction and sent a troubling message to pot users and dealers”, and that the Illinois government is giving users and dealers “consent.” However, many are applauding Governor Rauner’s signing of the bill.

Decriminalization of marijuana in Illinois, in the eyes of supporters, is seen as “commonsense reform.” Those that back the new law believe it is a great way to ensure that thousands of citizens do not have their lives ruined because of a “substance safer than alcohol.” Many proponents agree that the severe penalties associated with small amounts of marijuana ought to be reserved for serious crimes, such as dealing harder substances.

Illinois has now legalized medical marijuana and decriminalized possession of ten grams or less, making it the 21st state to do so. For patients who need medical marijuana needs, contact Greenhouse today!

Courtesy of: Chicago Sun Times


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