In an effort to allow police officers more time and resources to combat violent crimes, the state of Illinois legalized the use of marijuana on January 1, 2020. The state saw it as beneficial to allocate the money and public space used to enforce marijuana laws to rehabilitation and substance abuse and treatment centers. Although recreational marijuana is legal in Illinois, there are still regulations throughout the state to ensure that Illinois citizens are safe. Breaking any of the outlined rules for legalized marijuana, including illegally distributing marijuana, may still result in legal consequences.
Can you sell marijuana in Illinois? The short answer is no. Illinois citizens without a state-issued license may not distribute marijuana to others. In order to sell marijuana, Illinois requires an entity (usually a business) to obtain a license and open a dispensary. The application fee to open a dispensary costs $30,000. There is also another $100,000 charge to the state for the cannabis business development fund. If you are a citizen in Illinois without a license to grow and distribute marijuana, you can be charged with a misdemeanor or felony for illegally distributing marijuana.
Marijuana regulations are easy to follow if you can remember two key rules about legal cannabis in Illinois: (1) you must have a license to grow or distribute marijuana, and (2) you can only possess 30 grams or less at a time. Failure to follow Illinois marijuana laws may result in a person being charged with a drug crime:
Cultivation Charges — Unless you have a license to grow cannabis issued by the state, it is illegal to cultivate marijuana. The only loophole to this rule is that medical marijuana patients may grow five plants or less as long as they have a legal medical marijuana license. The penalty for anyone else cultivating marijuana is dependent upon the amount of marijuana grown. Growing five plants or less for personal use is a violation punishable by a $200 penalty. However, growing more than five plants for personal use is a felony. The fines range from $25,000 to $100,000 depending on the number of plants grown, and jail time can range from one year to 15 years in prison.
Distribution Charges — No one may distribute marijuana in Illinois unless they are a dispensary with a legal license to do so. The sale of 2.5 to 10 grams of marijuana is a misdemeanor that may be penalized with six months to one year in prison and up to $2,500 in fines. The sale of 11 grams or more will result in a felony. Depending on the amount of marijuana distributed or trafficked, the consequences range from one to 30 years prison time and up to $200,000 in fines.
Possession Charges — A person may only possess 30 grams of cannabis at a time. Possessing 31 to 100 grams is a misdemeanor charge punishable by up to one year in jail and a $2,500 fine. A second offense for 31- to 100-gram possession is a felony punishable by one to three years in prison and up to $25,000 in fines. The consequences continue to climb as the amount of marijuana possessed increases. A possession charge for more than 5,000 grams of cannabis could lead to 15 years of prison time and a $25,000 fine.
If you were charged with a drug crime for possession, distribution or cultivation of marijuana in Illinois, Arlington Heights criminal defense attorney Scott F. Anderson may be able to help defend you. At Scott F. Anderson, Attorney at Law, we are prepared to help provide the best defense possible for those accused of a drug crime. Attorney Scott Anderson has over 25 years of experience in criminal law. For a free consultation, call us today at 847-253-3400.
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