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DUI Regulation after Illinois Passage of Medical Marijuana

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drugged driving, Illinois drug crimes defense attorney, legal medical marijuana, marijuana possession, medical marijuana, Illinois Department of Public Health, using cannabis, DUI regulationOn January 1st of this year, Illinois became one of the 21 states in the country to enact legal medical marijuana. And according to ProCon.org, Illinois does not accept other states’ registration ID cards. Also, a person can only possess up to 2.5 ounces of cannabis during any 14-day period, unlike other states (such as Delaware, Arizona, and Maine). Once a person has obtained a certification from an Illinois-licensed physician, he or she must apply for an ID card with the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH). With the passage of such drug laws, of course, comes the necessity to regulate activities that may arise when a person is using cannabis.

The 2014 Illinois DUI Factbook reports that when the IDPH issues a medical marijuana ID card a notation is made on the registrant’s driving record, to which law enforcement officials have access if the registrant is pulled over. Similar to alcohol, a person is not permitted to operate a vehicle while under the influence of marijuana. If an individual is transporting cannabis it must be done in a tamper-evident container and in an area of the vehicle inaccessible to the driver. The punishment for failure to do so is similar to an open-container ticket involving alcohol.

Despite the allowance of medical marijuana, Illinois is still among the strictest states in the country when it comes to marijuana regulation. In 2012, according to a National Survey on Drug Use and Health and as reported by the The Washington Post, there were 30,758 arrests per 100,000 users in Illinois for marijuana possession, the highest marijuana arrest rate in the nation.

Noted by the Illinois State Police, drugged driving carries the same punishment as typical alcohol DUIs. A first conviction can result in a minimum one-year revocation of driving privileges and a fine of up to $2,500. On the other end of the spectrum, if a person is arrested for drugged driving after a crash that caused great bodily harm, a person faces a mandatory 10-day prison term, possible imprisonment of up to 12 years, and a fine up to $25,000.

If you or someone you know has been charged with drugged driving in Illinois, the most important step is to seek the counsel of a DUI attorney. Contact Scott F. Anderson, Attorney at Law today.

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