The New Marijuana Laws in Illinois
On July 29, 2016, Gov. Bruce Rauner signed Senate Bill 2228 (Public Act 099-0697), which changed the laws regarding possession of cannabis (marijuana). It did not entirely decriminalize marijuana possession, but it did make possession of 10 grams or less of marijuana, a civil law violation, as opposed to a misdemeanor. The Civil Law Violation is a new concept in Illinois created by SB 2228. The new marijuana laws primarily affect possession of marijuana for personal use. It is still just as illegal to manufacture and deliver marijuana or possess any amount of marijuana with the intent to distribute. The punishment and charge classifications for possession of marijuana in amounts greater than 100 grams have also remained the same.
10 Grams or Less
Before the new laws went into effect, ILCS 550/4(a) classified possession of 2.5 grams or less of cannabis as a Class C Misdemeanor, punishable by up to 30 days in jail. ILCS 550/4(b) classified possession of 2.5-10 grams of cannabis as a Class B Misdemeanor, punishable by up to 180 days in jail. The new marijuana laws decriminalize what used to be sections (a) and (b) of 550/4. Currently, the new 720 ILCS 550/4 (a) states that a person in possession of “not more than 10 grams of any substance containing cannabis is guilty of a civil law violation punishable by a minimum fine of $100 and a maximum fine of $200.”
Currently, 10-30 grams is a Class B Misdemeanor, punishable by up to 180 days in jail. This is an improvement from the previous law, which made 10-30 grams a Class A Misdemeanor, punishable by up to 1 year in jail. There also is no enhancement allowed for a subsequent offense on this amount of marijuana. Previously, if you were caught with 10-30 grams of marijuana in your possession, and it was your second time getting caught with at least 10 grams of marijuana, the prosecution could enhance the charge to a Class 4 Felony, punishable by up to 3 years in prison.
The old marijuana laws designated 30-500 grams as a Class 4 Felony. The current laws make a distinction in the punishment and charge classification of 30-100 grams and 100-500 grams. Being found in possession of 30-100 grams of marijuana, is now a Class A Misdemeanor, punishable by up to 1 year in jail, as opposed to its previous Class 4 Felony designation, punishable by up to 3 years in prison. This offense is still enhanceable if it is your second time being caught with at least 30 grams of marijuana in your possession. However, now it is only enhanceable to a Class 4 Felony, as opposed to the previous allowable enhancement to a Class 3 Felony.
Possession of 100-500 grams of marijuana is still a Class 4 Felony, punishable by up to 3 years in prison. It also is enhanceable to a Class 3 Felony, if this is your second offense involving possession of over 100 grams of marijuana.
Possession of 500-1,000 grams of marijuana remains a Class 3 Felony, punishable by up to 5 years in prison.
2,000- 5,000 Grams
Possession of 2,000-5,000 grams of marijuana remains a Class 2 Felony, punishable by up to 7 years in prison.
More than 5,000 Grams
Possession of more than 5,000 grams of marijuana remains a Class 1 Felony, punishable by up to 15 years in prison.